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HCIA 740 Healthcare Practical Interpreting II: Overview

This guide covers health interpreting resources.


The image shows a doctor conferring with a deaf male patient. in an office with a video remote interpreter shown 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 Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf has information on Interpreting in Health Care Settings.

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.

Interpreters' Pay

Interpreters' pay in Rochester range from $30-$60 an hour with a 2 hour minimum for interpreters hired from agencies. Pay varies across the country: in cities like Washington, DC the pay is double this, and in rural areas, one-half of the Rochester pay. In heavily populated deaf communities like Rochester, Washington, DC (VA and MD), Los Angeles, Dallas, etc. you will find proportionately more sign language interpreters of the deaf.

For more information about interpreters' pay and demographics, check the Interpreting Practitioner Needs Assessment of 2012 Final Report.

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