Online Medical Interpreter Training

Doctor with Patient

Become a Spanish/English Medical Interpreter

Medical interpreters work in hospitals, clinics and healthcare environments where patients and healthcare professionals require interpretation between Spanish and English. This 100% online course will prepare you to interpret medical terminology between English and Spanish. Using simultaneous, consecutive, and sight translation skills you will be ready to serve in a variety of hospital and medical specialties.

Job Outlook for Medical Interpreters

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects interpreters and translators to earn around $24.92 per hour or $51,830 per year on average.

Specializing in medical terminology and earning certification as a medical interpreter greatly enhance career opportunities for interpreters who wish to serve in the healthcare field.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates 19% job growth among interpreters and translators over the coming decade, which is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.

Medical Interpreter FAQs

What does a medical interpreter do?

According to the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC), the interpreter’s most important role is to facilitate comfortable and clear communication between patients and healthcare professionals.

Where can medical interpreters work?

Generally, medical interpreters work in any healthcare setting where health-related interviews between a healthcare provider and a patient are held. Interpreters may also serve in other healthcare-related services such as financial assistance.

What are the requirements for excellence as a medical interpreter?

The NCICH lists six key qualifications for effective medical interpreting:

Language fluency

Ethical conduct

Cross-cultural understanding

Health and medical terminology

Realtime interpreting skill

Correct interpretation of instructions

How do medical interpreter get certified?

Certification is an assessment process by which a professional organization tests and approves a medical interpreter’s qualifications. Certification includes the assessment of language, terminology, ethics and the interpretation process.

Is certification important for medical interpreters?

Certification indicates that a professional has undergone a rigorous and well-organized program of study and passed a recognized examination. It provides a clear understanding of an interpreter’s capabilities and commitment to excellence.

What is the difference between an “Interpreter” and a “Translator”?

“Interpreting” involves spoken communication while “translation” is dedicated to written documents. Medical interpreters help patients and healthcare professionals communicate through spoken conversations and interviews.

Course Objectives

  • Develop best-practice interpreting techniques using simultaneous, consecutive and sight translation methods.
  • Learn medical terminology in Spanish and English and transfer terms into the opposite language.
  • Understand social and personal protocols for interpreting on behalf of Spanish-speaking patients.
  • Master the medical interpreter’s code of ethics.
  • Prepare to sit for a Spanish Medical Interpreter examination.

Prerequisites and Requirements

There is no formal education requirement for either language, but bilingual Spanish and English fluency is required.


  1. Introduction to Medical Interpretation
    Medical Vocabulary – the Human BodyPre-anesthesia Record FormMedical Vocabulary – System and SensesRefusal to Permit Blood TransfusionMedical Vocabulary – Signs and Symptoms

    Medical Condition Form

    Intravenous Contrast Injection Consent

    Medical Vocabulary – Facilities and Staff

    Discharge Instructions


    Medical Vocabulary – Treatment Procedures, Instruments, Supplies and Medications

    Industrial Accidents – Workers’ Compensation

    Medical Vocabulary – Pregnancy and Delivery

    Simultaneous Techniques

    Consecutive Techniques

    Interpreting Laboratory Practices

  2. Introduction to Medical Interpretation
    Medical Vocabulary – Pediatric/neonatal CareMedical Vocabulary – Family PlanningInterpreting for Hospitals – Parents’ Rights & ResponsibilitiesMedical Vocabulary – Communicable Diseases

    Interpreting for Hospitals – Taking Care of Mom

    Interpreting for Hospitals – the “Baby Blues”

    Medical Vocabulary – Sexually Transmitted Diseases

    Interpreting for Hospitals – Consent for Cath Lab Procedure

    Medical Vocabulary – Dental Health

    Interpreting for Hospitals – Environmental History Form for Pediatric Asthma Patient

    Medical Vocabulary – Substance Abuse

    Interpreting for Hospitals – Osha Required

    Idiomatic Expressions – English Into Spanish

    Interpreting for Hospitals – Adult History Form

    Interpreting for Hospitals – Authorization for Use or Disclosure of Imaging Information

    Legal Terminology Used in Medical Matters

    Interpreting for Hospitals – Advance Directive

    Interpreting Laboratory Practices

  3. Sight Translation for Medical InterpretersPrinciples of LocalizationRe-structuring TechniquesPrinciples of Reversibility and Non-reversibility of Medical Terms

    Interferences – Filtering Syntactical and Grammatical Interferences

    Style in the Delivery

    Exam Taking Techniques – Objective Versus Subjective Grading

    Transferring of Low, Regular and High Register Documents Into the Opposite Language

    Stability in the Transfer

    Interpreting Laboratory Practices


Nestor Wagner

Nestor Wagner is a Certified Medical Interpreter as well as a Certified Court Interpreter. He has been teaching interpreters since 1990. He contributes to the certification process for Immigration Interpreters and Analytical Linguists. He is active in the professional and scholarly community for advancing interpreting skills. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Washington.

Registration and Enrollment

This course is 100% online. Start any time.