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Healthcare Interpreting is an emerging profession, contributing to the quality of care and positive health outcomes for individuals with limited English proficiency. Healthcare interpreters work in hospitals, clinics, home health visits, mental health clinics and any other place where providers and patients need to communicate. Healthcare interpreters are not only bilingual (or multilingual) individuals; they are trained in the skills, roles and responsibilities of an interpreter, as well as medical terminology and the healthcare setting. Some interpreters are employed directly by hospitals or health plans; others work for private agencies that provide interpreters to a number of hospitals and clinics. Many interpreters work part-time or as freelancers. A 2007 survey of Healthcare Interpreting certificate program graduates in San Francisco showed a wage range for interpreters of $12.50 to $35 per hour, with $21 per hour being the median wage.
Healthcare interpreters may provide their services in person, over the telephone, or via video monitors. The profession is growing in importance and recognition, and in 2008 a national coalition of organizations dedicated to increasing language access set out a plan for establishing a national certification process for healthcare interpreters.
Links to Additional Career Information
- National Standards for healthcare interpreting:
- California Standards for Healthcare Interpreting:
- California Healthcare Interpreting Association (CHIA)
- The California Endowment's focus area on Language Access: