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National Coalition charts path for Healthcare Interpreter Certification

June 13, 2008
NCHCIC Coordinating Committee
(916) 444-1506

National Coalition charts path for Healthcare Interpreter Certification

CHICAGO – Members of a nationwide coalition of non-profit associations, language-service companies, hospitals, consumer groups and educators last week committed to developing a single national certification in medical interpreting. Read the rest of this entry »

Resource: Health Information Translations Site

The Health Information Translations site includes lots of bilingual resources with value for medical interpreters, health care organizations, and patients. All materials are available free, in PDF format.

Health care interpreters can prepare for appointments and further their knowledge of medical terminology and procedures by using translated materials in 17 languages, from Arabic to Vietnamese. For lists of materials in your language(s), click on a language name. Each PDF file contains both English and the translated language. Some languages have more topics than others, and more languages are on the way.

The site also includes signage with pictorial symbols plus words in multiple languages. Examples include rest room signs, “do not enter,” and “no food or drink.”

All materials were developed by Ohio health care organizations to help improve health education for patients with limited English proficiency.

Report: Language help better for patients at NY hospitals


NEW YORK (AP) – Two years ago, Aida Torres rushed her feverish daughter to the emergency room. Doctors at the Brooklyn hospital tried telling Torres that her mentally retarded daughter, Madayeli, needed surgery for an ovarian cyst, but the scared mother didn’t understand them because she doesn’t speak English.Frustrated and desperate, the native of the Dominican Republic sought help from a Spanish-speaking hospital maintenance worker. He wasn’t able to help either; Torres eventually asked a friend to leave work to interpret.

Annotated Bibliography by Alice Chen, M.D.

Annotated Bibliography

Hospital program helps minorities, immigrants navigate health care

Some Maryland hospitals are adjusting to the increase in immigrant and minority patients by developing education programs that focus on these populations to improve care and reduce emergency room admissions. The programs discuss prevention within the context of the immigrants’ cultures and languages, using community leaders and laymen. Washington Post, The (2/5)

Trained interpreters: a necessary expense

Scenario: Why should doctors provide interpreter services, and how can they afford to?

Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of ethnicity by any entity receiving federal funds, directs that physicians who receive Medicare and Medicaid funds must arrange interpretation for patients with little or no proficiency in English. How far must I go in implementing this unfunded mandate?


If you’ve ever been ill while vacationing in a land whose language you did not speak, you probably don’t need to be convinced of the compassion and fundamental humanity of having foreign language interpreters for medical encounters. In the U.S., having interpretation available has been federally mandated since 2000 for anyone who receives Medicare or Medicaid funds for patient care.

A paper on pediatrics interpreter errors

I have been doing some literature search on the subject of errors made by medical interpreters, be it ad hoc or hospital interpreters with little or no training. I found a paper that I thought you might find interesting and relevant, and it perhaps could even be used as a complement to your curriculum. It provides examples of the most common errors committed by those serving as interpreters. I think it is extremely illustrative. I have enclosed it as an attachment.

Submitted by Iris Mónica Vargas

RWJF project offers video on hospital language services

A new video from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Speaking Together project describes the role that language services play in delivering high quality health care. The video features Cambridge Hospital in Massachusetts and Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where medically trained interpreters are contributing to safety and clinical outcomes for patients who speak or understand little English. The hospitals are participants in the national project to improve health care language services and reduce health care disparities associated with language barriers. Another initiative supporting hospitals with language assistance resources is the Missouri Hospital Association’s Web site.

New Mexico Needs Healthcare Interpreters

“Intoxicado” has been called the $71 million word. That’s the award a Florida hospital was to pay in a malpractice suit that left 18-year-old William Ramírez a quadriplegic due to the wrong interpretation of the word.