Benefits of Medical Interpreter Training

Bilingual staff, volunteers, and family members are often called upon to translate in healthcare settings — but it takes trained medical interpreters to achieve medical accuracy and cultural sensitivity. Medical interpreters trained through our medical interpreting courses gain specialized knowledge of medical terminology, ethics, and cultural traditions. This knowledge ensures that their translations are medically accurate and culturally appropriate for individual patients — prerequisites for the delivery and receipt of effective health care.

Massachusetts Medical Interpreter Training provides training programs, educational materials, and consulting services to help organizations address their day-to-day needs for medical interpretation and meet federal requirements for medical interpretation services.

Medical interpreters have the potential to bring about improvements in these areas:

  • Access to healthcare
  • Quality of healthcare
  • Cost reductions
  • Improvements in patient health outcomes
  • Compliance with anti-discrimination laws

Meeting legal requirements

In addition to ensuring that patients receive appropriate health care regardless of the language they speak, the use of trained medical interpreters enables healthcare providers to comply with anti-discrimination laws. The federal government requires healthcare facilities that receive federal funds to meet specific medical interpreting standards:

  • Provide language-accessible services to all patients ensuring health literacy
  • Determine the language needs of prospective patients at the earliest possible opportunity
  • Use only trained interpreters
  • Ensure 24-hour availability of trained interpreters
  • Our clients can meet these federal requirements and enhance their quality improvement efforts. We also provide the guidance our clients need to design and implement complete language access services within a healthcare institution.

For example, we provide ongoing training for staff members of multiple community health centers across the state of Massachusetts, where clinical staff members volunteer to attend a medical interpreter training program. The leadership at these health centers is committed to serving the area’s multicultural patient population — and recognizes that being bilingual isn’t sufficient to communicate effectively with a patient across cultures. Having trained medical interpreters available has enabled the team at such health centers to become effective listeners to help diagnose and treat the patient population. When we understand what patients are saying, services and patient satisfaction improve. Some of the health centers we have partnered with are Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, Greater New Bedford Community Health Center, Lynn Community Health Center, Edward M Kennedy Health Center, Berkshire Health Center, Charles River Community Health Center, Family Health Center, etc.

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