Why do you need a Medical Interpreter Certificate to become a medical interpreter?
As the United States becomes more diverse and multilingual, demand for trained medical interpreters and translators to help doctors and patients communicate — and avoid potentially deadly misunderstandings — is growing.
The importance of professional medical interpreters
“Hospital safety experts are stressing the importance of professional medical interpreters rather than relying on family members or other untrained interpreters,” writes Sabriya Rice in “Modern Healthcare”.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people who spoke a language other than English at home in the nation grew by 158% from 1980 to 2010, and the employment of interpreters and translators is expected to increase 46% by 2022. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports interpreters and translators in hospitals earn a national average of $21.43 an hour and $44,570 a year.
Medical errors often result from language barriers
The Joint Commission requires hospitals to provide interpreters to any patient needing one, but hospitals often rely on a bilingual staff member or patient's family for fear that delaying care may put a patient's life in danger. Nearly 9% of the U.S. population is at risk of an adverse event because of a language barrier, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
"Everybody has a story about some risky situation where lack of adequate interpretive services put a patient in harm's way," says Melanie Wasserman of Abt Associates. Wasserman co-authored a report published in May in the Journal for Healthcare Quality that found language barriers contributed to medication errors and lack of informed consent issues.
More hospitals and clinics now realize the need to use trained interpreters. In some cases, hospitals have had to pay to settle lawsuits because of errors attributed to language barriers.
Medical Interpreter Certificate Training Program
Programs around the US that train and certify medical interpreters are seeing rising enrollment.
Medical Interpreter Certificate Training Program at Language Connections takes 7 weeks (60 hours) meets or exceeds the requirements of the Massachusetts Emergency Room Interpreter Law (ERIL) and adheres to federal mandates and guidelines on culturally and linguistically appropriate health care.
Students learn medical terminology, best practices and ethical guidelines for medical interpreters, cultural differences and practice role-plays in English and their target language.
There are also final oral and written tests to verify students really understand what they claim to know before they receive a Medical Interpreter Certificate.
Spanish is the most popular language, followed by Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese Chinese, Haitian Creole and Vietnamese.
Speak a foreign language? Put it to work! Become a professional interpreter with our Medical Interpreter Certificate Training Program.
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