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Interpreter Training for Health & Human Services

This forty-hour course will prepare bilingual students (English-Spanish) to take the national certification exam for medical interpreters. This is the only curriculum in South Carolina that has been approved by both national certification boards: The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters and The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters.

Duration: 40 hours of class contact plus a comprehensive (written & oral) exam at the conclusion of the course that mimics the national certification for medical interpreters.

Description: Effective interpretation in the health, mental health, and human services settings extends beyond bilingualism. In order to ensure accurate and complete communication between Hispanic patients and providers, the interpreter must recognize and apply the role, ethics, and skills of interpretation. This onsite program will enable bilingual individuals to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate interpretation services in the medical, behavioral health and human services settings.

Instruction will be focused on developing the knowledge-based skills needed to pass the national certification exam administered by The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters and by The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. The course includes a comprehensive review of the topics covered in the national certification exam. Students will take a mock (written & oral) exam that mimics the national certification exam.

  • Course Tuition: $810.00 for 40 hours of instruction. The additional $65 workbook can be purchased on the first day of class. 
  • General Requirements: Bilingual (English/Spanish) individuals.
  • Application and Enrollment Information: Application Link

Course Content: The following topics will be covered during the course.

The Role of the Interpreter

  • Overview of the interpreter as the vital link that ensures the accurate and complete exchange of information between the provider and the consumer.

Study Techniques

  • Reading comprehension, memory skills, and test-taking techniques that enhance the participant’s ability to learn and to test effectively.


  • Basic strategies for an effective preparation, including reading for content, style, and language enhancement.

Interpreting Skills

  • Keys to effective interpreting such as listening techniques, memory development, cognitive processing skills, Metric-English Systems conversions, techniques for consecutive interpreting, and speaking strategies.

Interpreter’s Code of Ethics

  • Specific parameters that make up the professional ethical standard for interpreters. An overview of how personal ethics, standards of morality, and personal policies may influence the interpreter’s conduct. A systematic look at a typical Code of Ethics Policy.

Managing the Interpretation Encounter

  • Application of the interpreter’s standards of practice as they relate to the self-management and professional management of encounters with patients and providers.

Universal Precautions

  • Description and assessment for the need of preventive practices and the use protective gear during the interpretation encounter.

Specific Terminology

  • An extensive overview of medical, behavioral health, and human services terminology as well as Mexican/Central American/South American/Caribbean/USA colloquialism relating to ancillary delivery systems, and the diagnosis, pathology and treatment of disorders.

Latino Cultural Competency

  • Latino cultural values that may affect patient-provider relationship such as familism, fatalismo, respeto, and personalismo as well as a description of the impact that acculturation and Latino health beliefs have on health.

Role Play and Guided Practice Sessions

  • Opportunity for participants to apply interpreting principles and techniques in a safe environment.

Professional Development for Interpreters

  • Areas and resources for increasing vocabulary and honing interpreting skills.

Test-Taking Stategies

  • Practical test-taking techniques within authentic settings that maximize the student’s abilities to pass the written and oral certification tests.

Medical Interpretation Comprehensive Exam (Post-Tests)

The “Medical Interpretation Comprehensive Exam” measures the student’s ability to facilitate oral communication between the English-speaking provider and the Limited English - Proficient patient. The battery of tests includes a written and oral test.

The comprehensive exam will measure the following topics:

  • Ethics of Interpretation
  • Interpretation Skills
  • Role of the Interpreter
  • Interpretation Techniques
  • Healthcare Delivery
  • Universal Precautions
  • Patient-Provider Interactions
  • Hispanic Cultural Competency
  • General Medical & Human Services Terminology
  • Latin American Colloquial Expressions
  • False Cognates: General and Medical

The tests are designed in such a way that the level of competency increases as the participant progresses through the tests. This provides for an objective and valid measurement tool. The actual composition of the written tests includes a True/False section that measures factual knowledge, a multiple choice that measures the participant’s interpretation application and usage, and the translation of brief passages. The oral test is a mock, interpretation interview based on authentic scenarios. The passing score is 70% or above on each the written and oral tests.


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