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Healthcare/Medical Interpreter

Medical interpreters provide translation services for non-English speaking patients. These specialists, also referred to as healthcare interpreters, are important members of medical teams. Because of medical interpreters, doctors are able to assist non-English speaking patients. Theyíre especially valuable to doctors since they enable them to better treat non-English speaking patients, thus decreasing risk and malpractice liability. Likewise, doctors are less likely to make incorrect diagnoses when they understand patients.

Education and Training
Medical interpreters typically hold high school degrees. Itís not necessary to attend college, but many interpreters are college educated. Medical interpreters are required to be fluent in English and another language. Additionally, they must understand medical jargon and terminology, so aspiring medical interpreters should be ready to be tested on this knowledge during a job interview. Many medical interpreters are also licensed medical assistants.

Some schools offer formal medical interpreter training programs. Many healthcare providers do not require medical interpreters to hold certificates, but obtaining a professional certificate makes it easier for a new interpreter to find an entry-level job.

Additional Responsibilities
Medical interpreters typically accompany doctors in the exam room during checkups with non-English speaking patients. They must understand scientific terms and be at ease discussing private issues with patients. Medical interpreters relay information about a patientís medical background, symptoms, and other important information to doctors.

Likewise, interpreters translate the doctors and patientís responses and questions. Interpreters also frequently help doctors or nurses take vital signs, keep and file records, and perform clerical tasks. Regardless of additional duties, medical interpreters are primarily responsible for providing translation services.

Job Outlook
As immigrants continue settling in America, demand for medical interpreters will be high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that job growth for medical interpreters is estimated to increase by 22 percent through 2018, which is higher than average expected growth in other industries. Until 2018, itís estimated that 11,000 new medical interpreter jobs will be created.

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