Like many fields in interpretation, medical interpretation is a challenging, but a rewarding field. You are the voice of the patient who would otherwise not be able to communicate with the doctor. We understand that speaking with a healthcare professional can be complicated, even in English. Fully communicating the diagnosis, prescriptions, and lab work, and all the other medical terminology is complex. Because we are dealing with such sensitive topics, medical interpreters need to be prepared, and up-to-date with the newest findings in medicine.
There are two agencies that certify medical interpreters.
The first is the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI). There are certificates specific to Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin speakers, as well as a non-language specific certificate. To be eligible to take the exam for certifications, interpreters must complete a 40-hour training. This training can be done online such as at the Medical Interpreting Training School. Testing is offered year round, and it is a computer-based, multiple choice exam. Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin speakers must also pass an oral examination to complete their certifications.
The other agency is The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI). The Spanish medical interpreters at FLS have all chosen to be certified through NBCMI. Certification is available in Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Vietnamese. For interpreters of other languages, NBCMI does not offer a certification as they are committed to certifying interpreters by passing both the written and the oral exam. NBCMI certification also requires a 40-hour training, which can be completed online or in-person. The listing of their approved training courses are listed here.
These certifications distinguish your abilities as a communication professional, and it will give you an advantage as you pursue your career in medical interpretation.