Benefits of Medical Interpreter Training

Bilingual staff, volunteers, and family members are often called upon to translate in health care 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 health care
  • Quality of health care
  • Cost reductions
  • Improvements in patient health outcomes
  • Compliance with antidiscrimination 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 health care providers to comply with antidiscrimination laws. The federal government requires health care facilities that receive federal funds to meet specific medical interpreting standards:

  • Provide language-accessible services to all patients
  • 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 health care institution.

For example, we provide ongoing training at the Lynn Community Health Center, where clinical staff members volunteer to attend a medical interpreter training program. The leadership at this health center 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 Lynn Community Health Center to become effective listeners to help diagnose and treat patient population. When we understand what patients are saying, services and patient satisfaction improve.

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