Alumni Testimonial #14 - Best Hospital Interpreter Jobs & How To Find Them

Jul 25, 2023

Ella Khan Testimonial

“MiTio has been an extraordinary experience for me. Working as a Professional Interpreter has been a great achievement in my life, and I'm really proud of my Diploma as Medical Interpreter, Medical Translator, and my Certificate in Mental Health.

I will continue studying and improving myself with the help of the outstanding team of MiTio”


If you’re fluent in English and one or more other foreign languages, you could use your skills to improve patient care at a hospital. While many healthcare professionals may take a Spanish course, it's often not enough to get past the basics, negatively affecting patient care.

Most hospital interpreter jobs require basic education, but specialized training helps you get certified, which goes a long way toward getting hired. While a high school diploma or GED is often enough for some employers, others will expect a bachelor’s degree. In either case, you’ll likely be responsible for earning an interpreter certification from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) or the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) to demonstrate knowledge of medical terminology. You’ll also be expected to show some related experience in a healthcare environment.

After you receive certification to show that you’ve completed your medical interpreter training and learned the appropriate medical terminology, your services help doctors and other medical professionals communicate with patients who do not speak English. As an interpreter, you’d bridge the gap to ensure the patient’s concerns are appropriately relayed to their medical team and understand the diagnosis and treatment protocol.



Types of Hospital Interpreter Jobs  

As a hospital interpreter, you’ll need to write and speak fluent English and at least one other target language, such as Spanish, Portuguese, French, Mandarin, or Vietnamese. You’ll work in a hospital, but may find yourself in various scenarios, depending on the job details and requirements.

Medical Interpreting

As a medical interpreter, you may be involved in all aspects of patient care, from admission to discharge in a hospital or other kind of medical center. You’ll need to understand and interpret medical terminology in both languages, interpret questions and answers between the medical staff and patients, interpret all healthcare information, including diagnosis and follow up care requirements, to the patient and their families. You must also be able to go beyond language interpretation to explain any cultural issues that may affect treatment - such as a cultural basis for refusing blood transfusions - to the medical staff. All of this must happen while maintaining ethical and legal standards set forth by HIPPA laws and remaining empathetic to patients.

Medical Translating

While you may hear medical translating used interchangeably with medical interpreting, medical translators primarily focus on the written document rather than the spoken word. As a medical translator, you’d work in a hospital translating information to and from patient charts as needed. Beyond charts, you’ll also address instructions for discharge, follow up care, and what to do in the case of a complication. It’s your job to ensure the translations convey the proper meaning in the target language and that all documents are accurate. It’s crucial to understand the terminology, grammar, and semantics, not just in English but also in the target language. 

Hospital Translator

As a hospital translator, you’ll work much the same way a medical interpreter does. The only real difference is that instead of working in any healthcare environment like a doctor’s office or long-term health facility, you’d work in a hospital. You may handle conversations between non-English speaking patients and their doctors, or you may be asked to interpret written documents, depending on what the job description entails. Some positions may require you to do both.

Mental Health Interpreter

As a mental health interpreter, you’ll have the same responsibilities as a medical interpreter, but there are a few distinctions to consider. It’s hard for people to discuss mental health issues such as depression and trauma, even with someone who speaks their native language. The language barrier adds more complexity to the situation. In this role, you must communicate between the provider and the patient without judgment or discrimination. While you must always adhere to ethical and legal standards, it’s essential to ensure sensitivity to patients and their families.

Regardless of which position you find yourself in, you’ll need to adhere to all practice standards and code of ethics and maintain patient confidentiality. You may work directly for the hospital or work through a third-party agency that sends you to the hospital when the facility needs it. In the case of third-party employers, you will likely be paid per diem for your services. 


Tips to Improve Your Resumé

  • Keep it easy to skim. Pick a simple format that allows you to highlight your skills and experience without creating a novel for hiring managers to read. Remember, your resumé shouldn’t be longer than one page. Make slight adjustments for each job description and personalize the cover letter, rather than sending the same exact thing to every potential employer.
  • Move beyond the languages you’re fluent in. If you’re seeking a job as a Spanish medical interpreter, it’s clear you have so many years of experience speaking Spanish. While fluency is necessary, language services aren’t the only thing that matters. Highlight other skills, including people skills, communication skills, technical and computer skills, and cultural competency.
  • Demonstrate healthcare work experience where possible. Maybe you’ve never been formally employed in the healthcare sector, but you’ve spent time volunteering with local hospitals. Or maybe you worked as an administrative assistant for a doctor’s office and found yourself having to interpret a little here and there for doctors and patients.

If you’re new to the field and don’t have any experience to highlight, focus on things you’ve done in other jobs that can help you here, too. If you spent any time aboard, make sure to include it.

Types of Hospital Interpreter Jobs

Where to Find Hospital Interpreter Jobs

Hospital interpreters are in high demand. As the non-English speaking population grows in America, facilities need at least bilingual people to assist with patient care, whether in-person, working from home, or by telephone. The 1964 Civil Rights Act requires any hospital that receives federal funds to provide free interpreter services to patients who lack English proficiency.

When you’re ready to start applying for hospital interpreter jobs, you can contact hospitals in your desired area directly, or rely on various job boards to find openings. Places to look include:

You can sign up for job alerts on any of these sites to notify when a new position opens, whether in a hospital or for general medical interpretation.

Until you're hired, you can provide interpretation services on a freelance basis, either part-time or full-time, which can also boost your work experience.

Make Sure You Have the Right Certificates

Unfortunately, fluency in English and at least one other language isn’t enough to land a hospital interpreter job. You’ll also need to be certified to prove that you not only have the required spoken and written communication skills but that you understand all the necessary medical terminology required to provide quality service and patient care. 

That’s where we come in - we offer both a diploma course and a certificate course self-paced training program to help you learn all the medical things you need to know to prepare you for a job. If you’re interested in working as a mental health or court interpreter, we offer specialized courses to assist you. When you've completed our course, you'll be ready to test to become a certified medical interpreter. 

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