Is being a Medical Interpreter a worthwhile experience?

kts

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Jul 7, 2010
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I've recently become interested in becoming a medical interpreter in my native language but I'm deciding whether to go through with it since I have to take classes to get certified first.*I'm brainstorming ideas for what to do during my gap year and summer next year and deciding between working as an EMT/ER tech versus this (I'm already EMT certified). For those of you who have done Medical interpreting, was it worthwhile and just as good for a med school app as EMT since not many people have this type of activity? Or not as much since it doesn't involve direct patient treatment?
 

Alejandro

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I did a couple interpretations in the clinic (I'm an MA in an ED at a hospital)...it's not bad-i think you really get to develop a rapport with your patients. If you're looking for procedural experience, or something where you touch patients, etc...you're probably not going to get it as an interpreter. If it were me (not sure what language you speak), but if your local hospital serves patients speaking your language, i'd suggest being a tech instead. Then you get clinical exp being a tech, but can also vouch for translation if necessary. Then you kinda get the best of both worlds.
 

Propylene

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Oct 6, 2010
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I've recently become interested in becoming a medical interpreter in my native language but I'm deciding whether to go through with it since I have to take classes to get certified first.*I'm brainstorming ideas for what to do during my gap year and summer next year and deciding between working as an EMT/ER tech versus this (I'm already EMT certified). For those of you who have done Medical interpreting, was it worthwhile and just as good for a med school app as EMT since not many people have this type of activity? Or not as much since it doesn't involve direct patient treatment?
I think so. It gives a great opportunity to be an advocate for your patients and I'm sure you'll have some meaningful experiences. Maybe apply for both and see where you get it?
 
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kts

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Jul 7, 2010
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okay thanks guys
is it true that medical interpreting is not all that common among premed students? is it one of those experiences that can make you stand out a bit?
 
Last edited:
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Yes! Yes! Yes!!

This experience will teach you the basics of obtaining a history, as well as getting informed consent and describing the surgery/procedure to the patient.

IMO this type of experience is more useful in real practice than shadowing or volunteering in other ways. Go for it, you won't regret it.
 

kts

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For those of you who had medical interpreting training, how long did it take you to complete the classes to get certified and how much did it generally cost? One program I found has 195 hours of classes and costs $4650... seems a bit extreme
 

TheMightySmiter

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For the purpose of med school admissions, I think medical interpreting is a great option. You don't need to treat patients to get good clinical experience, just be around patients in a clinical setting.

If the class is really that much :eek: I wouldn't bother with it. Just do regular hospital volunteering and let it slip that you're fluent in such-and-such language. If it's common enough, you'll be asked to translate all the time. Spanish, Korean, and Russian come to mind as languages that I (working in a hospital) wish I knew fluently, because we often get patients who are native speakers of these languages.
 

CodeBlu

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For the purpose of med school admissions, I think medical interpreting is a great option. You don't need to treat patients to get good clinical experience, just be around patients in a clinical setting.

If the class is really that much :eek: I wouldn't bother with it. Just do regular hospital volunteering and let it slip that you're fluent in such-and-such language. If it's common enough, you'll be asked to translate all the time. Spanish, Korean, and Russian come to mind as languages that I (working in a hospital) wish I knew fluently, because we often get patients who are native speakers of these languages.
The bolded.

I speak 4 different languages... used 3 of them in my volunteer positions.

Knowing languages certainly helps. Plus it adds to your classy douchebag score by at least 10.
 
Jul 17, 2010
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For the purpose of med school admissions, I think medical interpreting is a great option. You don't need to treat patients to get good clinical experience, just be around patients in a clinical setting.
Agreed. This will stand out more than the vast amounts of EMTs and MAs out there. Plus, many people in my class had zero experience doing basic medical things (like BP, shots, etc), so you don't really need that. You can get better experience doing other things.
 

Morsetlis

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Could do both, or either. You already have experience in one, why not the other (if it's a sure shot)?
 

kts

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ok thanks guys. i think i'm going to try to find another program that's shorter/cheaper
 
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