“I don’t need medical interpreter training!” – Part 1 of 3

“I’ve been interpreting in hospitals for 20 years. I don’t need training!” As the owner of a language agency, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that claim. Perhaps you have even said it yourself. For me, that statement is a RED FLAG: an interpreter with this attitude is at the top of my list for urgent training!

“Why does a medical  interpreter with so much experience need training?,” you may be wondering. I’m so glad you asked! Here are a few reasons:

  • TRAINING IMPROVES SAFETY:  Healthcare policies and protocols are created to assure safety for patients, providers AND interpreters. If you, like many other veteran medical interpreters, learned “on the job,” you may be lacking key knowledge that could help you improve communication facilitation and to protect you from injury or infection.
  • INTERPRETERS ARE BEING WATCHED: Accrediting organizations, such as the Joint Commission, are starting to pay attention to whether or not hospitals are utilizing trained interpreters. And they want proof! This means documented core training and continuing education. If you cannot prove that you have training, you may be out of a job.
  • MORE ASSIGNMENTS, MORE MONEY: Plain and simple, if an agency or hospital has a choice between an interpreter who is trained and one who is not, they are likely to prioritize the person with training. Evidence of training shows them that you are interested in providing competent, safe communication.

EVERYONE needs training including novice interpreters, veteran interpreters, and interpreter trainers! I have yet to meet a medical interpreter who knew everything, especially when there is ALWAYS something new to learn in the rapidly advancing field of healthcare!

Share your thoughts about other reasons that medical interpreters need training in the Comments section of this post.

Read more posts in this series:

About VoicesACADEMY.com:

VoicesACADEMY is a subscription-based website for interpreters, translators and healthcare providers. We’re working hard to provide affordable, high quality training and professional support through on-demand videos and social networking. Join us on Twitter (@VoicesAcademy), Facebook (VoicesAcademy) and LinkedIn (VoicesAcademy).

About the author:

Michelle A. Scott is a bilingual Registered Nurse and Medical Sociologist who founded Voices For Health, Inc. in 1997. She advocates for raising the standards of language accommodation in healthcare through conference lectures, professional leadership and development of video content for VoicesACADEMY.com. 

Michelle Scott, RN









Tags: , ,

2 thoughts on ““I don’t need medical interpreter training!” – Part 1 of 3

  1. As a community interpreter and a medical interpreter, I will strongly say a medical interpreter need training for the big raison that, you will have to work in an nother world where Nurses and Doctors use medical terminology as a language in their job.That could be very difficult to the medical interpreter to render accurately and completely the messages between the Patient and the doctor if you do not have been trained in medical interpreter.
    The consequences can be very dangerous
    1.can train the Doctor with bad diagnosis and wrong traitement.
    2.can expose the patient’s life , sometimes can cause to death.

  2. Healthcare interpreting is changing and interpreters are not just interpreters anymore. There is so much at stake with every medical interpreting encounter: language proficiency, medical terminology, cultural competency, advocacy, ethics, standards, integrity, intellectual, social and emotional intelligence, good judgement, professionalism,…among others. This all requires training. I believe medical interpreter training is very vital and every interpreter has to go through this kind of training. Don’t think you know it all. The time you stop learning is the time you stop advancing.

Leave a Reply

© Copyright 2013-2024- Voices For Health, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.