Medical Interpreter Job Description, Key Duties and Responsibilities

By | September 20, 2023
Medical Interpreter Job Description
Medical Interpreters help patients who are non-English speaking communicate effectively with medical professionals.

This post provides detailed information on the medical interpreter job description, including the duties, tasks, and responsibilities they perform.

It also highlights the major requirements you may be expected to meet to be hired for the medical interpreter role.

What Does a Medical Interpreter Do?

Medical interpreters help non-English speakers communicate with caregivers in various medical facilities.

The medical interpreter job description entails providing language services to non-English-speaking patients to help them communicate with medical staff, doctors, and nurses.

Medical interpreters may be employed by interpreter agencies, medical facilities, or they may choose to operate their own businesses.

They need to have a high level of communication skill in a foreign or English language.

They also work with clinics, mental health clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, physician’s offices, and nursing homes.

The medical interpreter role also entails acting as a medium of communication between medical professionals and patients by listening to professionals and translating verbatim patients’ responses back to the professionals, using proper medical terminology.

Some interpreters get employment from interpretation agencies, while others operate their own interpretation businesses.

Work is generally done in a clinical setting, but a good number of interpreters work in a home-care environment.

On this job, employees are expected to work outside of regular working hours as other professionals in the medical field.

The medical interpreter work description may involve translating information such as the reason for medical visit, explaining surgical and medical procedures, providing drug information, past medical history and family medical history, and scheduling follow-up appointments.

During visits, cultural issues may arise between patients and professionals. Medical interpreters must at each visiting event try to avoid cultural issues.

Interpreters relay sensitive information, so they must maintain patient confidentiality at all times.

In this field, fluency in at least two languages is the main requirement, and a lot of interpreters complete formal post-secondary education as well.

Earning a Bachelor’s degree in a specific foreign language is common for aspiring interpreters, though certificate programs in medical interpretation are also available.

Medical Interpreters Job Description Example/Sample/Template

Medical Interpreters perform various functions in ensuring non-English speaking patients can communicate with health providers and get the best of medical service.

The medical interpreter job description commonly consists of the following duties, tasks, and responsibilities:

  • Conduct general and medical interpretation to staff, patients, and their families
  • Assess patients and monitor them to ensure they understand information being conveyed
  • Relay information regarding patient’s cultural issues to professionals
  • Note down and monitor interpretation activities according to hospital standards
  • May be asked to translate written documents
  • Always give reports to a manager or supervisor
  • Observe, obtain, and receive information from all relevant sources
  • Audit, Compile, calculate, code, tabulate, or verify information or data.

Medical Interpreter Requirements – Skills, Abilities, and Knowledge for Career Success

Employers of prospective medical interpreters expect them to possess certain skills, abilities, and knowledge for them to be considered for the role.

This is to ensure that anyone hired for the position will be able to effectively perform the obligations, objectives, and purpose of the medical interpreter role at the organization.

Here are major medical interpreter requirements commonly demanded by most recruiters for applicants to meet to be qualified for the role:

  • 1-3 years of related experience
  • Possess Bilingual fluency in English and a translation certificate
  • Should be aware of the social, linguistic, and cultural influences which affect healthcare
  • Excellent knowledge of the psychological and physiological implications of health care
  • Be fully aware of the much health care approaches (e.g. holistic, Chinese, Ayurvedic)
  • Understanding the multiple healthcare delivery systems and their roles
  • Sharing information and resources through education, advocacy, and education
  • Knowledge of policies and laws related to health care settings
  • Obedience to the Registry of Interpreters codes of ethics and conducts
  • Showcase flexibility and empathy in a professional manner
  • Ability to pay undivided attention to what other people are saying
  • Should have an eye for creativity and open to new ideas
  • Be willing to learn forever through workshops, books, videos, or more education
  • Must be true, honest, and punctual to meetings, and the hospital
  • Possess multitasking skills to enable work in stressful situations
  • Must be a good active listener and detail-oriented individual
  • Be professional in everyday dealings with patients and possess excellent social skills
  • Be in total control of their emotions
  • Ability to remain patient and calm in disturbing moments
  • Have interpersonal skills in order to work harmoniously with other professionals
  • Be able to build trust between doctor and patient
  • Requires familiarity with medical terminology
  • Requires fluency in one or more languages; English included
  • Be able to work under moderate supervision.


Are you an employer, recruiter, or HR manager looking to hire for the role of medical interpreter in your organization? If you are, then you can apply the sample job description provided in this post in making a detailed description of the medical interpreter position for your company.

It has been shown that publishing a detailed description of the expected duties and responsibilities successful candidates will perform as medical interpreters in your organization can increase your ability to attract the best candidates for the job.

Also, individuals interested in becoming a medical interpreter will find this article useful in learning about what the role entails and how to be successful in their careers.

Did this article help you to learn about what medical interpreters do? Please, leave a comment in the box below. And if you work as a medical interpreter, do also share your job description.