Medical Interpreters and Translators

Western Massachusetts is home to residents who speak over 24 different languages. To ensure that they receive quality patient care, medical interpreters and translators facilitate communication between patients who do not speak English as a first language and their doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers.

Medical interpreters are not only bilingual, but also have a strong knowledge of medical terminology as well as Cultural Competence.

Medical interpreters:

    • Ensure that patients receive the high-quality care by avoiding misunderstandings
    • Keep patients safe by ensuring the accuracy of communications and translations
    • Work with patients and their families to provide cultural information to make sure that a treatment plan is supported
    • Translate healthcare documents, either written or verbally

Employment opportunities can be found in:

      • Hospitals
      • Primary care

Education and training requirements

Requirements vary by employer, but medical interpreters and translators typically have formal training in medical terminology. Pioneer Valley Area Health Education Center (PVAHEC) offers Medical Interpreter Training that covers the role of the interpreter and medical terminology.

Medical interpreters are also expected to have:

      • Cultural competency skills
      • Understanding of and compliance with security rules and procedures, especially HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

Western MA Fast Facts

  • Education Requirements: Varies by employer (typically a high school diploma and certification)
  • Entry Level Salary: $25,000
  • Experienced Salary: $45,000
  • Learn more at