How to Use Your M.A. in Translation in the Medical Field

language translation for medical terms

Those with a master’s degree in translation have a wealth of career opportunities ahead of them, and we like to chronicle various possibilities for our students on our blog. Once you have earned your degree in our online or on-campus translation program, one option for you is in the field of medical translation.

Read on to discover more about the profession, what its responsibilities are, courses particularly suited for this role, and more.

About the Medical Translation Field

Patients who have limited English proficiency, or those who are non-native speakers, create a need for medical facilities to rely on trained translators and interpreters to facilitate communication with patients and their families.

Due to this, more and more hospitals, clinics, and other medical institutions are hiring translators and interpreters to provide language translation for medical terms, patient instructional materials, and more.

Some of the key responsibilities for those in a medical translation role can include:

  • Translating medical reports  
  • Translating patient information  
  • Translating pharmacological instructions  
  • Translating key medical brochures and pamphlets into another language  
  • Translating instructions for the use of hospital equipment  
  • Translating study protocols, lab and pathology reports, and insurance claims  
  • Learning terms for diseases and medical terminology in the second language, as some can vary while others cross over between languages  
  • Understanding issues of cultural sensitivity of the language being conversed or corresponded in
  • Ensuring patient-physician confidentiality is maintained and that personal information remains limited to the materials at hand
  • Updating patient-facing materials and documentation to comply with changes to insurance information and other alterations

Our M.A. in Translation

Students have the option to take our program on either a part-time or full-time basis, with options for either on-campus coursework or online coursework. Language concentrations offered include Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.

All of our coursework plays a vital role in giving you the knowledge and skills you’ll need for a rewarding career, but some key courses that will impact your medical translation career include:

  • Documents in Multilingual Contexts (2 credits)
  • Terminology and Computer Applications (3 credits)
  • Scientific-Technical-Medical Translation (3 credits)

Be sure to visit our M.A. in translation coursework page to see a detailed breakdown of all classes within the program.

Future Certification Options for Medical Translation

Once you graduate our M.A. in Translation program, you could go on to gain certification for medical interpreting if you so choose, through one of the two primary certification organizations.  

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI)

Those interested in applying for this national certification must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a minimum of a U.S. high school diploma or GED, or an equivalent from another country
  • Complete at least 40 hours of medical interpreting training, in an academic or non-academic program
  • Possess linguistic proficiency in English and their chosen language for certification
  • Pass the CoreCHI exam, featuring 100 multiple-choice questions. Those with a target language of Arabic, Mandarin, or Spanish require an oral exam as well

The National Board for Certified Medical Interpreters

Those interested in applying for this national certification must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a minimum of a U.S. high school diploma or GED
  • Complete at least 40 hours of medical interpreting training
  • Demonstrate oral proficiency in English by way of a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, Ph.D., or a passing score in TOEFL, ELPT, MELAB, ECPE, FCE, CAW, CPE, or IELTS

Language options for this certification include Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Other language concentrations are covered by the previously mentioned CCHI certification.

Ready to Get Started? Apply Today!

To get to work on your master’s in translation so you can go on to provide language translation for medical terms, patient information, medical documents, healthcare correspondence, and more, reach out to our team with any questions or apply today.

We look forward to hearing from you!