The MiTio Blog

Transform your bilingual ability into a vibrant career with our expert insights in medical interpreting, certification programs, obtaining employment, and much more. 

Millions of children translate for their immigrant families. I am one of them.

Posted by Umme Orthy on Jun 5, 2022 11:00:00 AM

This blog is reposted from

Since coming to America, my parents have relied on me to navigate school conferences, doctors’ appointments, and even tax forms. Now I’m headed to college.

By    Umme Orthy

As we walked together into my ninth grade homeroom, my parents instructed me to tell them everything my teacher said. It was time for my parent-teacher conference, but my parents spoke very limited English. It was my job to translate. 

“Your child is doing a really good job in school,” the teacher started. 

My parents nodded and smiled, and I could tell they had understood.

From there on, though, I translated everything. It was challenging since my family had moved from Bangladesh only a year before — and I, too, was still learning English.

I had to navigate a new language and cultural differences, and try to fit into an environment that still felt foreign. On top of that, I became a “language broker” for my parents, meaning I was tasked with translating between our native language, Bangla, and English.

Though we all came to the U.S. knowing little English, I picked up the language more quickly than my parents because I was going to school and socializing in an environment where English was the dominant language. My mom, meanwhile, stayed at home to care for my younger siblings, so she didn’t have the same level of exposure to the new language. Interpreter is a role that has become second nature to me over the past five years. I have translated at school conferences and doctors’ appointments, including when my mom was pregnant and when my sister had to be rushed to the ER due to a high fever and a rash. Sometimes, when interpreting, I hold space for my mom to try to use her English, but most of the time, she relies on me to step in. 

My parents have made so many sacrifices to give my sibling and me a better future, namely uprooting their lives to come to America. Translating for them feels like a way to honor their sacrifices, and it has also improved my social and communication skills. It has never felt like a burden, but it hasn’t always been easy or convenient. Most kids don’t have to think about tax filings or immigration paperwork, let alone help their parents understand it and fill it out. 

I’m hardly alone. That’s because some 17.8 million U.S. children live with at least one immigrant parent, and more than half of them reside in households where parents speak limited English. Like me, many of those children are responsible for helping their families communicate, which can have benefits and drawbacks. Research published last year in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships showed that child language brokers may experience enhanced self-esteem and empathy, but the role can also add stress, cause problems at school, and leave families feeling that parent-child roles have been reversed.

To better understand the phenomenon, I spoke with a friend who has been her family’s language broker since she was 8, and her family moved here from Egypt. She talked about how hard it was to translate every single word and how she worried about saying the wrong thing. One day, she accompanied her mom to her sister’s pulmonologist appointment. “The pulmonologist asked, ‘What happened to your baby?” my friend recalled. “As I was explaining the condition of my sister, the doctor asked my mom, ‘Is that what happening with your baby?’” The doctor wanted to communicate directly with her mother, but that was impossible. 

I, too, have been in situations where I’ve been overwhelmed because I don’t know how to translate medical terminology into Bangla, and I didn’t want my parents to get the wrong information. 

This fall, I’m heading to Haverford College, an opportunity that my parents’ sacrifices made possible. But I know the transition will be hard on my mom, especially, who has depended on me to translate for her since we came here in 2017. It won’t be easy for me either. Interpreting is sometimes hectic, but I’ve gotten used to it. Soon it will be time for my brother, who is 11, to pick up where I leave off. 

Umme Orthy is a senior at Science Leadership Academy at Beeber in Philadelphia and will be attending Haverford College in the fall. She is a Chalkbeat Student Voices fellow. Read her recent Chalkbeat essay, “In America, I experienced Islamophobia right from the start.”


Read More

Here Are the Coping Mechanisms Interpreters Need to Deal With Vicarious Trauma

Posted by Maria Stasimioti on May 27, 2022 5:45:06 PM

This blog is reposted from

Read More

Five Tips for Interpreters New to Remote Video Interpreting

Posted by AMN Healthcare on Apr 22, 2022 5:19:34 PM

This Blog is Reposted from our Employer Partner AMN Healthcare

Read More

2021 NBCMI Medical Interpreting Scholarship Program

Posted by Dr. Nelva Lee on Aug 18, 2021 2:35:00 PM

McDonough, GA , August 2021 -- The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) has announced a joint initiative with the Medical Interpreting and Translation Institute Online (MITIO), an international educational institution based in the United States, to provide 25 scholarships for the 60 hours Medical Interpreting Certificate Course.

Read More

Topics: Medical Interpreter

Can You Be a Translator Without a Degree?

Posted by Dr. Nelva Lee on Mar 24, 2021 2:00:00 PM

What is a Translator?

Translation services are ingrained into our day-to-day lives.

Read More

MiTio’s Guide: Translator Jobs From Home

Posted by Dr. Nelva Lee on Mar 17, 2021 5:54:00 PM

Work From Home as a Translator

According to “Freelancing in America,” freelancers made up 35% of the U.S. workforce in 2019. That is roughly 57 million people, including thousands of remote translators who value independence and self-management.

Read More

Guide to ‌Spanish Translator Jobs

Posted by Dr. Nelva Lee on Mar 10, 2021 5:43:00 PM

We live in a multilingual world. From Russian to Mandarin, to French and Spanish, language barriers are crossed daily, and the U.S. is no exception. 

Read More

Topics: Medical Interpreter, Spanish

What is the Difference Between a Translator and an Interpreter?

Posted by Dr. Nelva Lee on Mar 3, 2021 5:30:00 PM

In an increasingly globalized world, we encounter and interact with different languages and cultures all the time. 

Read More

Topics: Medical Interpreter, Medical Interpreting

MiTio Secures $20mm in Capital to Grow Income Share Agreement Program and Increase Access to Medical Interpreting Training

Posted by Donnie Lee on Nov 17, 2020 4:57:00 PM

The Medical Interpreting and Translating Institute Online (MiTio), today announced the close of $20mm in growth financing to drive the expansion of their Income Share Agreement program. MiTio is the nation’s oldest medical interpreter training program, and the first in the country to offer Income Share Agreements. The capital will allow MiTio to increase access to its training program and provide bilingual students the training necessary to secure a role in the certified medical interpreter industry, projected to grow 20% by 2029 - five times faster than average. Income Share Agreements demonstrate MiTio’s dedication to student success by providing outcomes-aligned financing while simultaneously opening its high-quality education and upward career mobility opportunity to low-income bilingual individuals across the United States.

Read More

Topics: Medical Interpreter, Medical Interpreting, education, MiTio Family, Leif, ISA

‌Medical Interpreter Study Guide Resources

Posted by Dr. Nelva Lee on Oct 28, 2020 2:00:00 PM

If you’re interested in working as a medical interpreter, preparing for certification is a crucial part of landing a job. Here, we’ll explain the tests, explore more about the two certification bodies in the United States, and provide a list of resources to help you study and prepare.

Read More

Topics: Medical Interpreter, Medical Interpreting