A charity in Boston, Massachusetts is helping local women get out of poverty by training them in medical interpreting. Called Found in Translation, the organisation trains bilingual women, usually immigrants or children of immigrants, to use their existing language skills to become medical interpreters.
Why Medical Interpreting?
Why does medical interpreting make such an excellent career choice for poor immigrants? Three reasons:
- There’s a high demand for medical interpreters. Demand is expected to grow 46% in the next 10 years.
- The job pays well. The median wage is $45,430.
- It saves lives. Also, it allows these women to give back to their communities while bettering themselves.
Medical interpreters provide an essential service in doctor’s offices and hospitals. They help doctors accurately understand patients’ symptoms and histories. They help patients understand what’s happening with their care and treatment. Often, no interpreter is available and the job falls to the family member with the best English skills. Usually, that’s a child. And that’s a huge responsibility for tiny shoulders.
According to Mashable, Found in Translation founder Maria Vertkin was inspired by her own experience as a six year old “medical interpreter.”
The problem is that family members, especially children, don’t have the skills to be good translators in a health care setting. They may be fluent in both languages, but that’s not enough. As Matilde Roman, senior director of medical interpreting firm New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, told Mashable:
“Medical interpreting is a very finite skill set. Not only do you need to have competency or language proficiency in a target language and in English, but you also have to have a level of competency in medical terminology and ethics.”