<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >4 Essential Skills Every Medical Interpreter Needs to Have</span>

4 Essential Skills Every Medical Interpreter Needs to Have

Working as a medical interpreter can be extremely rewarding, as the work itself is an investment in the lives of others. This comes with incredible responsibility, as improper interpretation can negatively impact the well-being of patients.

As an employer who partners with medical interpreters, there are several qualities to look for to ensure the details of your communication and conveyed accurately and with depth. So, we thought you’d like to know the top three skills that professionals in this industry must undoubtedly possess. 

3 Skills Medical Interpreters Need to Have

1. Advanced Language Skills 

If you’re going to hire an interpreter, they must have advanced language skills under their belt; that is the first and most important thing you’ll want to make sure of.

For example, considering the amount of Spanish-speaking individuals in America, their English to Spanish interpretation abilities need to be top-notch.

It can take years of experience to gain these skills, which many people find very frustrating, leading them to settle for less than fluent professionals.

When searching for your interpreter, one helpful tip is to look for indicators on resumes and in hiring conversations.

These indicators can include immersive experiences in diverse communities of native speakers, traveling abroad, and regular practice in the interpreter’s daily life. 

2. Cultural Awareness

Advanced language skills aren’t the only things you’ll need to make sure your medical interpreter possesses; relevant cultural awareness is also a must.

Since you’ll no doubt run into high-stress situations every once in a while, it’s important to work with an interpreter who is sensitive to any cultural issues that might be encountered.

This will require understanding the differences between cultures or having lived outside the country, but most of all, it means being able to step in when sensitive issues do indeed pop up.

The more your interpreter knows about cultures that are prominent in your community or industry, the better equipped they are to navigate tough conversations. 

3. Mastery of Healthcare-Related Terminology 

For a medical interpreter, knowing the language of the medical field is key. As one might expect, a strong understanding of healthcare terminology is an essential part of succeeding at the job.

It will not only make your day-to-day tasks less stressful, but it could help to prevent a disastrous scenario in which you make a costly, interpretation-related mistake.

Years of schooling are often essential to learning a great deal about healthcare terminology, though, you may be able to streamline the process if you encourage your interpretation hiree to continue taking learning into their own hands. This can include regular sit-ins on appropriate meetings and familiarizing themselves with trending medical journals.

4. Dilligent Note Taking

Note-taking can greatly aid interpreters and help guarantee the accuracy of their interpretation is conveyed to patients. Doctors may want to make a relatively long explanation of a diagnosis without constant interruption. In cases like this, it is essential for the medical interpreter to take complete and efficient notes so absolutely nothing is left out.

Some interpreters even use note-taking in dialogue interpreting, for example, while interpreting a short conversation between a patient and a staff member.

In general, note-taking skills are important for any type of consecutive interpreting, not just speech and conference interpreting.

Interpreters develop their own techniques, with some relying on symbols and drawings while others note keywords. The main purpose of these notes is to help them remember the structure of what has been said so as not to forget anything.

Memory is still very important to bring out the details of the content, but in medical settings, it can be difficult to break all utterances up into short chunks.

LinguaLinx Can Help Translate Your Documents

There you have it: four essential skills every medical interpreter must possess to be successful on the job. We know that learning any language is an intricate process that demands discipline and mental flexibility.

LinguaLinx has cornered the market on language services for the working world because translation is the heart of what we do.

Interested in learning more about how LinguaLinx can connect your business to cultures everywhere? The team members of our interpretation division master the art of accurately conveying nuanced meanings from one language to another—in any situation, in real-time. 

With Lingualinx, you won't ever have to worry about your message getting across. You know you're in good hands with our ISO 17100 compliance, twenty years of professional translation experience, and the organizations whose trust we've earned.

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