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5. Interpreter

Medical interpreters do more than translate. In order to thoroughly communicate the complexity of healthcare, interpreters must fully understand the subject matter they work with. There are two types of interpretation: simultaneous and consecutive. Simultaneous interpretation requires interpreters to listen and speak (or sign) at the same time. In simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter begins to convey a sentence being spoken while the speaker is still talking. Ideally, simultaneous interpreters should be so familiar with a subject that they are able to anticipate the end of the speaker’s sentence. Because they need a high degree of concentration, simultaneous interpreters work in pairs, with each interpreting for 20- to 30-minute periods. This type of interpretation is required at international conferences and is sometimes used in the courts.

Medical interpreters do not require advanced degrees, but must be fluent in their native language and their second language. A strong grasp of the health industry and medical practices is also necessary.

As more second-language-speakers enter the United States, the need for medical interpreters will grow. Employment is estimated to increase 24% by 2016, driven by the high demand for medical interpreters. The best cities for jobs lie in urban areas like Washington, DC, New York, and Los Angeles.

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