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Interpreter Resources: Health Care Interpreters

This guide points to different types of interpreting and library resources.

What is a Health Care Interpreter?

The image shows a doctor conferring with a deaf patient (man) and a remote interpreter on a tv screen.This is from the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC) website. Healthcare interpreting is a serious enterprise. Errors in communication can pose risks to patients and liability to the healthcare provider. Interpreters working in healthcare settings often become an essential member of the healthcare provider team. To function effectively, interpreters need to be familiar with specialized medical vocabulary and discourse; healthcare settings, systems, and personnel; be able to negotiate professional relationships both with patients and healthcare providers; and be prepared to face diverse ethical challenges.

Healthcare interpreters may work in a variety of healthcare settings: hospitals, clinics, mental health and substance abuse facilities, private physicians’ offices, rehabilitation centers, domestic violence programs, and nursing homes. At times, interpreters may encounter the interface of healthcare and legal interpreting, for example, in work with forensic services. In addition, more and more healthcare interpreting is performed as a video remote service.

Since few undergraduate interpreting programs offer a focus on healthcare interpreting, practitioners interested in working in this setting pursue specialized training through workshops, online instruction, and mentorship. Certification and several years of general interpreting experience lay a strong foundation for a specialization in healthcare interpreting.

Check out the Health Care Annotated Bibliography, and the Bibliography of Mental Health Care Interpreting. We have many of these materials. Use the RIT Libraries Catalog to find book and conference titles, and the A-Z Journal Finder to find journals and articles. The CATIE Center is THE resource on health care interpreting. The Register of Interpreters for the Deaf has information on Interpreting in Health Care Settings.

Search for Periodical Titles

Online Study Packets

View these online videos and translate written texts into ASL. We have the CDs mentioned on this list in the 1st floor Deaf Media section.
When the Law Meets Medicine video and Study Packet
Hurry Up and Wait: Interpreting a Visit to the Emergency Room video and Study Packet

Study Packet accompanies the CD-ROMs: To the Heart of the Matter and Internal Discussions: An Appointment with a Cardiologist

Study Packet accompanies the CD-ROMs: STOMACH THIS! and Internal Discussions: An Appointment with a Gastroenterologist

Study Packet accompanies the CD-ROMs: Birth Companions and All in Due Time.

Study Packet accompanies the CD-ROMs: Navigating Discourse Genres and To the Heart of the Matter

Hospital Statistics

There are about 7,000 hospitals in the U.S. and all are required by law (The Americans with Disabilities Act) to provide interpreting services to DHH patients.

Thanks to Jen Freer, Business Librarian, for suggesting this reference. A good reference which tracks statistics is called Hospital Statistics. You can find variables on the number of hospitals reporting t translation/interpreting services and assistive technology services. The former is defined on page 18 under #65 of this survey instrument. The latter is for people admitted and defined on page 19 in #80a of this survey instrument.  Data collected for Translators is on page 159 and for the Assistive Technology is on page 166.

There are 198 hospitals in NY State.

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