Alumni Testimonial #7 - How Much Does A Medical Interpreter Make At A Hospital? Mitio Explains

May 30, 2023

Diana Garafola Testimonial Video

hospital interpreter provides an essential service in a hospital setting by using their skills to help patients and healthcare professionals communicate clearly and efficiently. A hospital interpreter’s role is to translate information between both parties and ensure everyone involved fully understands all diagnoses, recommendations, and treatment instructions. A hospital interpreter also must consider and communicate any cultural nuances to the medical professional, which may impact a patient’s understanding or care. 

This service is essential for the patient’s safety and comfort, especially considering that over 24 million Americans with limited English proficiency need to communicate effectively with their healthcare providers.

What Does a Hospital Interpreter Do?

Hospital interpreters are there to assist patients throughout their healthcare, from admission, examination, consultation, procedures, right through to follow-up appointments, and reminders. Interpreters advocate for the patient and their family members and the healthcare provider and are on hand to clarify information, correct any misunderstandings, and interpret everything said accurately in the particular foreign languages spoken.

According to federal law, any hospitals that receive Medicare, Medicaid, or other government funds are required to provide interpretation services free of charge. These interpretation services mean that all patients have equal access to healthcare regardless of language, background of immigration status.

Working as an interpreter in a hospital requires a highly professional manner as well as good people skills. Doctors, nurses, other health professionals, the patients and their families all rely on you for accuracy and the ability to convey information in a sensitive and compassionate manner, all while keeping in mind patient confidentiality and discretion. 

 Because of the type of work involved, hospital interpretation can be a gratifying career, with lots of opportunities for growth and advancement. An ideal way to kickstart this career advancement is by earning additional certifications and qualifications.

If you’re bilingual and a career as a hospital interpreter sounds right for you, why not start today by signing up for a course with MiTio. We offer two different starter courses, depending on your goals, experience, and qualifications:



MiTio’s 160 Hour Medical Interpreting Diploma Course

If you do not have any existing medical training but are bilingual and eager to pursue a medical interpretation career, our 160 Hour Medical Interpreting Diploma Course is perfect for you.

Our 160 hour diploma course will teach you all the skills and knowledge needed for a career in medical interpretation, including Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology, and extensive training in healthcare field protocols, standards of practice, ethics, and medical coding.

In addition to an extensive and comprehensive training program, our diploma course offers exclusive job opportunities with MiTio upon completing the course. 


MiTio’s 60 Hour Certificate Course

At MiTio, we offer two levels of courses designed to help you earn your certification. The 60 Hour Certificate Course is ideal for medical professionals looking to switch careers or simply enhance their skills in their current career path. It is a continuing education course for those who already have experience in the medical profession or who have been working as a medical interpreter and are looking for a refresher course to build on existing knowledge. 

The 60 hour certificate course is aimed at those with at least 3 years of experience and assumes an existing knowledge of medical language and procedures. This course expands your skills to focus on the finer points of the job, including standards of practice, ethics, and codes of the medical interpreter. 

Our 60 hour certificate course will help you earn the proper credentials to comply with OCR regulations, helping you add another highly marketable skill to your resume. 


Salaries for a Hospital Medical Interpreters

A qualified translator could earn around $35,000 for a full-time entry level position. That figure climbs to approximately $54,000 for an experienced and sought after interpreter. gives a more detailed breakdown of earning potential:

    • Beginners make up the bottom 10%. Entry-level interpreters earn an average of $35,271
    • The next 25% of earners have a few years of experience. They earn an average of $40,272
    • Well into their careers, people with more experience earn the national average median salary, $45,764
    • The top 25% earners make an average of $50,170
    • The top 10% earners who work language interpreter jobs average $54,181

The exact medical interpreter salary you earn will vary depending on your experience, skill, certification, education, location, and language. Languages with higher demand in the area you are working will often have higher average pay.

How Much Does A Hospital Interpreter Make An Hour

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average hourly wage of 4,180 translators and interpreters in hospitals nationwide was $21.43. Assuming a year of 40-hour weeks, this works out to an annual income of around $44,570. However translators can often work very irregular or part-time hours, especially if they are working on a freelance or self-employed basis

Doctor talking with medical interpreter Hospital Interpreter Pay by State

The hourly and yearly salaries of hospital interpreters can change drastically depending on the state. For example, in California, the average wage of a hospital interpreter is around $55,000, compared to Virginia, where that average wage is raised to around $74,130. 

The United States districts and states where translators and certified medical interpreters make the highest pay:

    • Washington, DC ($93,730)
    • New Jersey ($74,750)
    • Virginia ($70,770)
    • Maryland ($70,530)
    • Colorado ($70,050)

Different factors will influence pay rates, particularly the demand for hospital translators in different areas. Alongside this, the more experience and credentials you have, the higher your rate of pay is likely to be. Geographic areas also determine which languages are most in demand. While Spanish interpreters and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are in need all over the country, some areas will have high demand for less common  languages like Hindi, Arabic, or Korean.

The diploma course is 160-hours in length and will allow you to work anywhere in the U.S. The course includes a 40-hour foundational interpretation course, a 40-hour Medical Terminology Course, Intermediate and Advanced level interpreting courses, 24 hours of live practice, and six hours of internship experience. Earning a diploma with MiTio will teach you the basics of medical interpretation, provide you with real-world experience and help you expand your resume ready for a career in hospital interpretation in the state of your choice.

Upon completion, you’ll be ready to earn your IMIA-accredited medical interpreter diploma and walk away with the advanced skills and experience needed to be a more competitive job applicant. MiTio also offers diploma recipients exclusive job opportunities through our interpreting agency, providing you with a seamless transition into your new career path.


How To Make More As A Hospital Interpreter

For some translation services related jobs, you only need a high school diploma or equivalent. A career as a hospital interpreter, like other medical professions, requires at least a bachelor’s degree, and encourages constant learning and progression. A fantastic way to achieve this is by pursuing new certifications and skills to add to your resume. An expanded resume is essential when looking to move up the ladder in your career, and is the key to earning a more competitive salary and a more impressive job title. 

Here at MiTio, we offer courses to help you get Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters credentials to help you expand your resume and give you the skills you need to take your career to the next level:

    • Mental Health Interpreting - This 10-hour course is aimed at those who already have experience working as a translator in a healthcare setting, and are looking to expand their skills and job opportunities to include mental health interpretation. It will provide an introduction to mental health interpretation and leave you prepared to communicate effectively with both professionals and patients.
    • Hospital Translator training - This is a 40-hour course aimed at giving bilingual speakers the foundational knowledge and skills required to excel as a medical translator. It is broken down into four units, and by the end you will have a solid knowledge of medical translation modes and roles, alongside a firm grasp of essential translating ethics and standards of practice.

In addition to these add-on courses, MiTio offers diploma courses in a variety of sought-after languages. If you speak more than one language to a fluent level, it would be well worth your while earning certifications in as many languages as you can. Some of the language courses we offer are listed below:


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