medical interpreter training?

  1. If you work as a nurse and speak, write, read fluently a foreign language and that language happens to be your mother tongue, do you have to obtain medical interpreter training for that language?
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   michar
    As I understand it, you need to be certified as an interpreter to be paid as an interpreter. That doesn't mean as an RN you can't sign to your deaf patient, or translate for other parts of the team. You just get paid for being a nurse, not an interpreter.

    My experience is with ASL, I don't know if other languages are the same or not. I also could be wrong, it's been known to happen.
  4. by   athena55
    Hello Michar:
    Wow, it is not often that I see a fellow poster fluent in ASL. I am also fluent in PSE. At my old hospital whenever they needed someone who could sign I was called. I did tell them about the different services around town (from NYC so the hospital could have called in New York Society for the Deaf - NYSD as an example), but I guess they wanted to save a wee bit of money so that is why they would call me up at the last minute! Sigh...
    How did you come about learning ASL? Deaf in family? Just curious
    Hotshot1234: Does your hospital have a foreign language registry of the house staff that speaks/is knowledgeable in a language other than English? If you are into volunteering then add your name, but as Michar stated you would need to be certified before you can charge for your services.
    athena
  5. by   hotshot12345
    Thanks for the fast responses. Actually, I still in school. I just want to know that after I become an RN, can I still interpret for patients in my mother's tongue?

    However, will I get paid more if I undergo interpreter training?
  6. by   michar
    Fluent is a bit of a stretch LOL. I honestly don't know how I do with technical terms like you run into in a medical setting. I can carry on a conversation with someone and make myself understood.

    I've always thought it was a beautiful language and 'talked with my hands' naturally. I self taught myself a little, and then ASL classes where I've learned more about the grammar and subtlty (sp?) of things like facial expression that you don't get out of reading in a book.

    I have really been wondering if there is a medical ASL class I could take to make me more skilled.

    I am also an EMT, and I do have to say the hardest thing I've ever done is tried signing to someone who is on a gurney strapped down to a backboard in headblocks. I felt like strapping myself to the top of the ambulance.
  7. by   BonnieSc
    It depends on hospital policies, but I really doubt you'd find any hospitals that WON'T LET YOU translate for your patients because you're not a certified interpreter. They love that.

    The hospital where I'm precepting, and at least some of the others where I've had clinicals, will pay nurses a small extra each time they translate something (so, if you're pulled away from your own patients to obtain a consent or something, you can get paid extra for that time). But it is VERY small--I think just a couple of dollars per document, for instance--and you have to fill out paperwork--so all the fluent nurses I've talked to say they just do it and don't bother with the paperwork--which takes about as long as the translation.

    I have seen postings in a couple of places for Nurse Translators, who have regular floor duties but are also on call to translate officially, usually for admissions. They do get paid more than their colleagues at the same level.

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