FAQ - Translators and Interpreters
Information about skills, training, and certification
What is healthcare interpreting?
What is the definition of a qualified interpreter?
What is the difference between a healthcare interpreter and a bilingual individual?
What is the difference between “interpretation” and “translation”?
What should professional healthcare interpreters know to do a good job?
Some interpreters say they are “certified.” Is there a difference between qualified and certified interpreters?
A qualified interpreter is an individual who has been assessed for professional skills, demonstrates a high level of proficiency in at least two languages and has the appropriate training and experience to interpret with skill and accuracy while adhering to the National Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice published by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care.
Where can I find training?
For self-guided learning about the profession, see NCIHC’s Working Papers Series (under “Resources”), including a National Code of Ethics for Interpreters in Health Care and National Standards of Practice for Interpreters in Health Care, as well as a glossary of terms. In addition, NHelP’s Language Services Resource Guide (2006) contains multilingual tools and resources, and a glossary of translation and interpreting terms. There is also a good description of the profession at Explore Health Careers.
I am bilingual in English and Spanish and am interested in becoming an interpreter. What should I do?
What is the demand for healthcare interpreters?
What is the difference between a healthcare interpreter and other types of interpreters?
A healthcare interpreter is one who interprets in healthcare settings of any sort, including doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, home health visits, mental health clinics, and public health presentations. Typically the setting is an interview between a healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, lab technician) and a patient (or the patient and one or more family members).