FAQ - Healthcare Professionals
Information about providing language access services
What is healthcare interpreting?
What is the definition of a qualified interpreter?
What is the difference between a healthcare interpreter and a bilingual individual?
A qualified interpreter is a person who has been assessed for professional skills, demonstrates a high level of proficiency in at least two languages and has the appropriate training and experience to interpret with skill and accuracy while adhering to the National Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice published by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care.
What else should professional healthcare interpreters know to do a good job?
The following six components together comprise a reasonably comprehensive process for initial assessment of qualifications for health care interpreting.
What types of services should a healthcare provider/organization provide with regards to language access?
The extent of responsibility can be determined using an individualized assessment that balances the following four factors:
Actions considered strong evidence of compliance with written-translation obligations:
What can I do if there is a problem with interpreting services?
Some interpreters say they are “certified.” Is there a difference between qualified and certified interpreters?
A qualified interpreter is an individual who has been assessed for professional skills, demonstrates a high level of proficiency in at least two languages and has the appropriate training and experience to interpret with skill and accuracy while adhering to the National Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice published by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care.
Who pays for interpreter services?
Some health care providers pay for interpreter services themselves. For more information, see the NHeLP’s publication, Providing Language Interpretation Services in Small Health Care Provider Settings: Examples from the Field (April 2005). This report focuses specifically on promising practices for providing language services in small health care provider settings, including solo and small group practices and community clinics.
Is there a law that requires provision of interpreters?
For an explanation of these federal laws and policies, see NHeLP’s publication, Language Services Action Kit (2004).
For an explanation of federal laws concerning language access and examples from the field in video format, see the LEP Video, Breaking Down the Language Barrier: Translating Limited English Proficiency Policy into Practice, which can be ordered through www.lep.gov
For a more comprehensive explanation of language access responsibilities under federal and state law, as well as in the private sector, and recommendations for addressing identified problems, see NHeLP’s Ensuring Linguistic Access in Health Care Settings: Legal Rights & Responsibilities (2nd edition, August 2003). $100.00 ($65.00 for nonprofit advocacy organizations). To order, go to www.healthlaw.org
Where can I find healthcare interpreters?
a) How do I know if they’re qualified?
How does the agency recruit interpreters/translators? An agency that does not maintain relationships with immigrant and refugee communities, professional interpreter organizations, and training programs may have difficulty filling an institution’s needs.
Where can I find training?
For self-guided learning about the profession, see NCIHC’s Working Papers Series (under “Resources”), including a Code of Ethics for Interpreters in Health Care and Standards of Practice for Interpreters in Health Care, as well as a glossary of terms. In addition, NHelP’s Language Services Resource Guide (2006) contains multilingual tools and resources, and a glossary of translation and interpreting terms. There is also a good description of the profession at Explore Health Careers.
What is the difference between “interpretation” and “translation”?
My hospital is thinking about starting an interpreter services program. Where should we begin?