How to Become a Medical Translator?

The healthcare system is a field that requires a lot of responsibility from everyone involved, like doctors, nurses, pharmacologists, or surgeons. At the same time, many people are attracted to the medical field because being able to help others and save lives is something everyone would like to do.

If you are one of these people and the healthcare system attracts you, but you are not ready to take the whole responsibility for the people’s lives, there is an option you can consider: you can become a translator or interpreter! Read here about how to become a medical translator.

Who Is a Medical Translator?

Not everyone understands what the job descriptions of translators and interpreters in the field of medicine are. That is why we prepared the main information about translators.

What Do Medical Translators Do?

Interpreters and translators facilitate communication in the healthcare system between people who cannot understand each other. Translators deal with written texts and documents, while interpreters work with oral conversations. However, in most cases, one person can be both translator and interpreter because once you work with one patient, you become close to him or her, and there is no need to find two people for one job.

Medical interpreters are also needed on medical conferences and translators are required for translating research papers in the field.

Communicate with Migrants

Armed conflicts, low levels of well-being in some countries, and globalization contribute to the migration waves all around the world. However, not all people who are migrants can speak the language of the country they move to. Countries’ authorities understand it and try to find a way out.

In many countries, hospitals hire translators and interpreters to be able to establish communication between doctors and patients. People who become translators work with doctors and patients, helping them to understand each other. Your work is needed both in oral communication and document rendering.

Private Clinics

A lot of private clinics all around the world allure foreign patients by promising them better treatment. There is even a separate branch of tourism: medical tourism. It is a good thing because if a clinic specializes in heart surgery, for example, it may help people from any country.

These private clinics hire translators and interpreters because they aim at providing the highest level of service, and it is crucial to establish communication. You can be an employee of a private clinic and work part-time only when there are patients that need your language expertise.

Medical Treatment Abroad

Even if it is not a private clinic that invites foreigners, there are millions of cases when a person cannot be treated in his or her home country and has to be moved somewhere. Few people know the language of the country they are going to, and that is where you become top requested.

You can become a translator in a specific hospital that invites people from abroad, or you can become a part of a language service provider and cooperate with many hospitals.

Translating to the English Language

If a hospital wants to become accredited globally, it needs to operate in English. It means that all documentation and clinical records have to be translated into the English language. At the same time, there are many citizens who may not be able to understand English, so all papers have to be in both languages.

This situation requires mostly translators, but after expanding, foreigners may also come to the hospital, so interpreting will become needed as well.

How to Become a Medical Translator?

There are a lot of requirements you need to meet in order to become a medical translator. They can all be reduced to three groups, which will be discussed below.

Medical Knowledge

It is impossible to become a translator in the medical field without medical education. Of course, you are not required to obtain a degree in Medicine, but without a certificate about your knowledge in the field of medicine, you will not become an employee in any hospital or language service provider.

Here is the list of online courses that will be useful for you in order to become an expert in this field. You will learn how to become a medical translator after taking one of these. They all provide you with the certificate and you will be able to become employed right after finishing the programs.

  1. Medical Terminology for Interpreters


Price: $225

  1. MiTio’s Certificate Course


Price: $700-1000

  1. Alta Online Medical Interpreter Training


Price: $650-800

  1. MITS (Medical Interpreting Training School_


Price: $600-1000

  1. BMCC Online Medical Interpreter Training


Price: $200-800

Language Knowledge

Of course, you need to be fluent in both languages you are going to use for work. In most cases, you will be required to have a language certificate, like IELTS or TOEFL, but you need to specify it according to the place you want to work in.

A high level of medical language is also required and you get a test in order to be able to become employed. Each establishment has specific tests in accordance with the medical field they work with: surgery, pediatrics, etc.

Some Character Traits

This job is very demanding on the mental level: you need to be stress-resistant, to be able to work under pressure and to hide your true emotions (sometimes doctors don’t open all details of diagnosis to patients). It is crucial not to take everything personally, but at the same time, be empathetic. You need to be communicative and talkative and also possess a sense of humor.

Of course, these character traits are not mentioned in the job description, but it is impossible to become a good interpreter in this field if you do not have them. If you cannot deal with human emotions, it is better to stay away from here. You can watch how doctors work and try to copy their behavior.

Now you know how to become a medical translator and what this job requires from you. Think thoroughly before looking for employment because the job

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