As you look towards hiring a Language Service Provider (LSP), one key question you need to ask is who will complete your translations, and what their qualifications are. This is of particular importance in healthcare organizations because you need to be sure that your healthcare translators are HIPAA certified and understand how to handle Protected Health Information (PHI). While each LSP will have a different process for testing and qualifying their translators, our process will give you insight into what the qualification of healthcare translators looks like.

Qualifications of healthcare translators

At Avantpage, we hold high standards for all of our translators, healthcare translators included. The minimum qualification standards of our healthcare translators are as follows:

  • Be a native speaker of the target language
  • Be proficient in the relevant technologies (e.g. translation tools, Translation Memory, Translation Management Systems, etc.)
  • Bring positive recommendations from employers and clients
  • Sign a non-disclosure agreement and follow client confidentiality, HIPAA, and PHI guidelines
  • Be a certified translator from an accredited organization or like organization
  • Have a university or postgraduate degree
  • Be bi-cultural, either a U.S. resident or U.S.-centric
  • Have strong links to our target market (U.S. minority communities)
  • Specialize in the healthcare domain
  • Have two+ years of professional experience

Beyond these minimum qualifications, we maintain a list of core verifiable credentials which informs our translator recruitment process. Those credentials for healthcare translators include:

  • American Translators Association Certification
  • Judicial Council Certification
  • WA State Department of Social and Health Services Certification
  • 3 or 4-year degree in Translation, Interpreting, or Linguistics
  • United Nations Accreditation

Testing healthcare translators

While all of these qualifications and verifiable credentials provide us with excellent candidates for healthcare translators, we want to be absolutely sure they will provide accurate and high-quality translations for your organization. With this in mind, we put all of our translators, regardless of their industry specialization, through competency tests built on the ISO 17100 standards:

  • Source language competence
  • Target language competence
  • Translation competence
  • Cultural competence
  • Research competence

Our healthcare translators must meet our qualifications and pass our competency test to be offered the opportunity to work with us at Avantpage.

What makes healthcare translators qualified?

Many of the regulations governing the translation process indicate that you need to use qualified healthcare translators rather than merely competent linguists. This is also of particular importance if you provide interpretation in your organization, which is also highly regulated in healthcare organizations.

While bilingual employees and family members can serve as interpreters in cases of significant emergency, or when getting a qualified interpreter to the scene isn’t an option, you cannot use them as interpreters or translators in non-emergent situations. For the typical interactions that occur in healthcare organizations, like patient visits and member communications, you will need to hire qualified translators and interpreters under the regulations of the Affordable Care Act.

Beyond this, it’s simply best practice to hire qualified translators and interpreters, or engage an LSP, to work with your healthcare organization. An LSP will be able to provide you with culturally and dialectically correct translations and interpretations. Particularly in healthcare interpreting, you want to ensure your interpreter has the same cultural background and gender as the patient, client, or member if possible.

Having certified, qualified healthcare translators can help to improve the accuracy, consistency, and overall quality of your translated documents. If you’re interested in starting a new healthcare translation project with our highly qualified translators, give us a call at 530-750-2040, or request a free quote today.

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