What are 3 Common Myths About How to Become a Medical Interpreter?
If someone asks you what a medical interpreter is, you’ll most likely refer to the general conception of the profession: trained individuals who bridge the language gap between patients and doctors. This is certainly true, and yet there are still many misunderstandings about medical interpreters. Read about three common myths and misconceptions about how to become a medical interpreter.
Busting Myths about How to Become a Medical Interpreter
1."You need university degree(s) to qualify"
A common misconception surrounding medical interpreter education is that a college degree is needed. This might come to you as a surprise, but while some countries may have specific requirements for hospital interpreters, some don’t. Most medical interpreters (sometimes known as medical translators) usually have at least a high school diploma. Many enroll in medical interpreter programs to receive medical interpreter certificates, and become a certified medical translator.
So what skills exactly do you need? A medical interpreter must be able to speak fluently in at least two languages. Depending on the country you’re seeking employment in, English is often one of the languages most medical interpreters know. A degree in translation or foreign languages with a concentration in medical subjects also help, too.
2. "Training isn’t required, and you don’t need to waste money on it"
The ability to interpret professionally is not a skill that can be attained overnight. Just as knowing how to use a paintbrush doesn’t make you a professional painter, the ability to speak a language does not instantly make you a professional interpreter either.
Training and consistent practice are crucial components to become a medical translator. Apart from the necessary linguistic training and the ability to relay information accurately and clearly, a thorough understanding of specific medical terminology is also indispensable.
3. "Medical interpreters are only needed in clinical environments"
This is one of the most erroneous assumptions about medical interpretation. Contrary to popular belief, medical interpreters are not only needed in clinical, but also business environments! The job of medical interpreters and what they entail are rewarding and sometimes life-saving. Even though they are especially needed by doctors and healthcare professionals (in fact, Spanish medical interpreters are currently among the most sought-after) they could also work in a telephonic environment, providing language interpretation on a one-on-one basis or in group settings. Simply put, if you become a medical interpreter, you will not necessarily work in a hospital or clinic.
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