Our Approach

Massachusetts Medical Interpreter Training is on the forefront of the effort to address the challenges of communicating effectively with patients who have limited proficiency in English.

Our comprehensive training produces medical interpreters who have crucial knowledge of medical terminology, a key to successful medical interpreting. Our programs teach participants to recognize, understand, and evaluate cultural subtleties that can affect clear communication.

By training a wide range of health care professionals and medical office staff through our Fundamentals of Medical Interpreting course, we increase the supply and distribution of health care personnel with training in medical interpretation in underserved communities of Massachusetts. We place particular emphasis on ensuring that primary health care services are accessible to those with limited English language skills, as required by law. 

Our courses create career opportunities within underserved communities. By developing medical interpreting skills, bilingual individuals may have opportunities to receive differential pay for their interpreting services or to advance in their careers.

Moving toward professionalization

As Massachusetts Medical Interpreter Training has evolved at UMass Chan Medical School, our team has recognized the need for standardization and certification of trained interpreters. 

Although there is currently no official standard for certifying medical interpreters, our Fundamentals of Medical Interpreting course is designed to produce well-trained, effective medical interpreters. Individuals who complete our training program received a certificate of completion. All of our participatory courses prepare students to meet the Standards of Practice developed by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC).

Participants in the course gain an understanding of the following:

  • The American health care system
  • Interpersonal skills needed in clinical settings and emergency situations through role-play scenarios
  • The impact of cross cultural communication skills
  • Common diseases, infectious diseases, and practical applications in health care

Our continuing education programs are designed to advance participants’ professional development, and our worksite consultation and training offerings respond to the uniqueness of each delivery site’s resources and patient population.

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