Medical Interpreters

About Medical Interpreters and their Responsibilities:

Medical interpreters work with patients that cannot speak English in hospitals, mental health clinics, physicians’ offices, nursing homes, clinics, and rehabilitation centers.

They are the conduit between medical professionals and the patients as they listen to the professional and then translate the information to the patient in the language they understand. The medical interpreter then gets the response from the patient and translates it to the health professional using appropriate medical terminology. Among the information they translate include:

  • Translating information on the reason for the visit
  • Provide drug information and schedule follow up appointments
  • Translate medical care instructions
  • Explain survival and medical procedures
  • Explain the family medical history and the medical history of the patient

Key Responsibilities:

Medical interpreters are involved in every step of the health care process. They are involved in admission, consultation, examination, and many other patient-provider interactions. They enable thorough and accurate interpretation of medical concepts so that the provider and patient understand each other.

Most of the time, the interpreter is a background staffer though they may use tact when interjecting into conversations for the sake of responding to patient discomfort, correcting misunderstandings, and clarifying information. Interpreters typically perform advocacy for both the health care provider and the patient.
The interpreter also has the responsibility of helping the medical care provider understand the cultural background of their patient. This is a critical role that significantly influences the provision of healthcare decisions. Medical interpreters ensure that underserved patients regardless of immigration status, background and language are granted equal access to health care.

Average Salary/Compensation of Medical Interpreters:

According to Glassdoor, medical interpreters in the US earn an average of $40,640 a year. However, salaries in the career vary widely depending on several factors including the language you are specialized in, location, experience, certifications and education among others.
Hourly Pay
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage of medical interpreters was $21.43 an hour based on the submitted salary data of about 4,180 interpreters. That would round out to an annual salary of about $44,570 if a person were to work a 40 hour week. However many medical interpreters are freelancers and often work irregular hours. Nonetheless, a significant proportion of work as a full-time employee in a health care setting.

Comparison with Other Industries:

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistic interpreters in all industries averaged $24.33 an hour in 2011. This works out to an annual salary of $50,610. Annual wages were from a low of $23,710 to a high of $88,010 in the interpretation industry. The average pay for an interpreter was $56,020 a year with many interpreters working in technical, scientific and professional services. The highest paid interpreters were those working in computer services and design where the average annual pay was $104,990.

Pay by State:

Compensation also varies depending on the state in which one practices. The average pay for medical interpreters exceeded $60,000 for most states. California pays its medical interpreters a salary of approximately $60,000 a year, Virginia paid $89,890, Maine 63,890 and Virginia $89,890.

High-Paying Cities:
Washington DC takes the cake as the best company when it comes to high payouts for medical interpreters. The average for the medical interpreters in Washington DC was $93,670 annually. The next best city to work in as a medical interpreter was Syracuse in New York where the annual income was $75,480.

Medical Interpreter Agencies: 

There are tons of agencies where medical interpreters can sign up and offer their skills to health care practitioners. The following are a few agencies where one can join and start looking for medical interpreter jobs:

If you live in the United States and can speak English fluently alongside another foreign language, you can find a position at certified You will need to provide excellent customer service, and proven interpreting experience before you can be allowed into the interpreting team. find out more here:
The company provides interpretation services to a ton of clients in health care organizations, government agencies, energy companies, and health care organizations. They have a lot of medical interpretation work and all you have to do is submit your resume and application online and wait.
It is one of the largest agencies providing interpretation services to clients in a lot of different verticals. The agency provides an opportunity for many medical interpreters to easily find jobs from its user dashboard.