Interpreting clients

Building a client base is an ever-present challenge for interpreters. Whether you’re just starting out or having been in the business for years, you always need to be on the lookout for new opportunities. Fortunately, there are several ways to market yourself as the right person for the job. Sometimes a well-crafted resume is enough, but sometimes you need to get a little more creative. Below are five ways to get more interpreting clients—from traditional methods that still work to outside-of-the-box ideas.


  1. Highlight Your Area(s) of Specialization


Language and interpreting skills are only half of the equation when it comes to getting hired. Potential clients also need someone who understands their industry and has the required credentials. Getting certified in your field is one the best ways to do just that. In some industries, such as healthcare and legal, you may need a state or national certification to qualify for most jobs. If your area of specialization doesn’t have a certification program, highlight your professional training, any continuing education courses, and/or membership in industry-related organizations.


  1. Build Your Remote Interpreting Skills


Remote interpreting is quickly becoming the norm in healthcare, business, and even legal settings. Yet it poses some unique challenges that onsite interpreters don’t face. From more difficulty building a rapport between participants to trouble with technology, it takes some adjusting to make the switch. However, with a little practice you can improve your remote interpreting skills. If you already have experience, be sure to highlight that when you market yourself to potential clients.


  1. Network, Network, Network


As with any field, people prefer to work with someone they know and trust. While COVID-19 has made it more difficult to make new connections, virtual events and conferences are still great ways to find new clients. By attending virtually, you’ll also keep up with industry trends, learn about the latest technology, and even earn continuing education credits.


  1. Film a Video Introduction


If you really want to stand out from the competition, film a short video introduction to send to potential clients. This lets you showoff your professionalism—and language skills—in a more personable way. Potential clients will get a better feel for who you are beyond your resume. If you have a website, be sure to upload it there as well.


  1. Use an Online Interpretation Platform


As an independent contractor, you’re responsible prospecting, scheduling, and tracking your finances. Staying organized is of the utmost importance if you wan to succeed. And here’s where the right software can help. Built with interpreters in mind, Boostlingo’s interpretation platform lets you manage your schedule—and your income all in one place. And thanks to our web/mobile app, you can accept new assignments no matter where you are. You never have to worry about missing an opportunity.


Want to find out if Boostlingo is right for you? Start your free trial today!



The United States is the land of linguistic diversity—with at least 350 languages spoken at home. Although Spanish, Chinese, and French round out the three most common after English, millions of residents speak a language of lesser diffusion. While each of these cultures add to America’s diversity, language barriers can make it difficult to access healthcare, legal services, and more.


If you need an interpreter who speaks Spanish, even on short notice, you’ll likely find one without much trouble. Yet what if you need someone who speaks Swahili? Or Telugu? Depending on where you live, this can pose a major challenge. Fortunately, remote interpreting options make it easy to find an interpreter regardless of your location—or theirs.


But before we get into the benefits of remote interpreting, let’s take a look at the linguistic diversity across the country.


Language Diversity Across America


The U.S. Census Bureau released a set of its most comprehensive data on languages in November 2015. Based on American Community Survey data, it includes information on 350 languages. Below are some statistics from five of the largest metropolitan areas.


New York


  • At least 192 languages are spoken at home.
  • Bengali, with 105,765 speakers, is one of the area’s smaller language groups.


Los Angeles


  • At least 185 languages are spoken at home.
  • Indonesian, with 12,750 speakers, is one of the area’s smaller language groups.




  • At least 153 languages are spoken at home.
  • Serbian, with 17,490 speakers, is one of the area’s smaller language groups.




  • At least 156 languages are spoken at home.
  • Telugu, with 12,630 speakers, is one of the area’s smallest language groups.




  • At least 146 languages are spoken at home.
  • Malayalam, with 10,370 speakers is one of the area’s smallest language groups.


The Benefits of Remote Interpreting


As you can see, even languages of lesser diffusion may make up relatively large communities, especially in metropolitan areas. However, there may still be a shortage of professional interpreters who speak that language. Here’s where remote interpreting comes.


There are two methods of remote interpreting: over-the-phone and video remote. Both methods let you work with an interpreter without bringing them onsite. This not only helps you save on travel expenses, but can help you get an interpreter on short notice.


So, how do you connect with a remote interpreter? One way is through Boostlingo’s easy-to-use interpreting platform. All you need is a phone or webcam and internet access. There’s no need to download any software. Plus, you’ll gain access to the Boostlingo Professional Interpreter Network, which includes interpreters who speak over 200 languages.


Want to find out if Boostlingo is right for you? Start your free trial today!



education post

The 2020-2021 school year may turn out to be one of the most challenging in recent history. From virtual classes to hybrid learning to new restrictions in the classroom due to COVID-19, students and teachers will need to quickly adapt. But one thing that hasn’t changed? The need for interpreters in education.


Interpreting in Higher Education


In 2018, the number of international students in the U.S. reached a new high of 1.9 million. As the top study abroad destination, the U.S. offers numerous benefits for students who want to get ahead in today’s world. Yet in order to fully take advantage of this opportunity, many students must first overcome language barriers. Here’s where educational interpreters come.


Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, schools must ensure that that students who are learning English have an equal opportunity to succeed academically. By offering interpreting services, colleges and universities can give limited-English proficient (LEP) students the support they need to do just that.


Interpreting in K-12 Education


International college students aren’t the only ones who need assistance from an educational interpreter, either. K-12 students who have recently relocated to the U.S. or primarily speak another language at home typically need language support while they’re learning English.


According to The Pew Research Center, there were nearly five million English language learners in the U.S. public school system as of 2015. Of those students, the majority speak Spanish at home in 45 states and Washington D.C. However, the majority in states such as Maine and Vermont spoke less common languages, such as Somali and Nepali, respectively.


This puts teachers and school administrators in difficult position given the circumstances. Students still need help from interpreters, but many are learning from home. And even if students are returning to the classroom, schools may be hesitant to bring interpreters onsite.


Video Remote Interpreting to the Rescue


Fortunately, video remote interpreting gives students access to an interpreter in the classroom and at home. With Boostlingo, teachers can connect with an interpreter in seconds. And thanks to the Boostlingo Professional Interpreters Network (BPIN), they’ll have access to interpreters who speak over 200 languages, including American Sign Language (ASL). Plus, our new Zoom integration feature makes it easy to help LEP students, without giving up the platform that teachers grown comfortable using.


Want to learn more about how Boostlingo can help in the classroom? Contact us today to schedule your free trial!


Virtual Event

The year 2020 is the year when everything went fully virtual – from work and learning to dinner parties. Conferences held by professional interpreting and translation organizations are no exception. In this post we prepared a round up of virtual conferences happening this fall to help you stay on track with your professional development plans for the year. You can now hone your interpreting skills and catch up on new developments in the field without leaving the comfort of your home – just remember to stock up on snacks for coffee breaks!


Arizona Translators and Interpreters (ATI) Annual Conference: Getting Down to Business 

When: September 26 – 27, 2020

Cost: ATI Annual Membership + Conference $125.00  

ATI Annual Conference $80.00 

Event Description: As a result of Covid-19, and our responsibility to the welfare of our members, the ATI Board decided to have the 2020 ATI Annual Conference as a fully online/virtual event.

Therefore, we will hold a two (2) day event for the conference in order to attain the maximum CEUs possible. There will be a variety of presentations ranging from regular sessions to workshops. We sure hope to “see” you there!


Event Website:


Association of Language Companies 2020 Virtual Summit 

When: September 15-17, 2020

Cost: One Day Pass $99, ALC Member and Partnership Association 3-Day Pass $199, ALC Non-Member

3-Day Pass $249

Event Description: Agile Thinking | Innovative Solutions | Best Practices | Forecasting the Future. Three days of education, networking, and collaborating with the brightest minds in the LSC Community

Event website:


American Translators Association (ATA) 61st Annual Conference

When: October 21-24, 2020

Cost: *ATA Member  **Non-member  ***ATA Student

Early Registration (by September 28): $299* $475**  $145***

Standard Registration (after September 28): $389*  $615**  $185***

Late Registration (after October 16): $499*  $805**  $245***

Event Description: Learning is interactive: 120 sessions will be streamed live. You’ll be able to participate in Q&As, personally follow up with speakers, and switch between sessions just as if you were attending in person. 

Networking still exists:  Meeting up with friends and making new ones, even virtually, is invaluable right now. Keep up to date with technology and trends in the Exhibit Hall. Look for job opportunities at the Job Fair. Reach new clients by making connections with colleagues.

There’s no better value for the money: You’ll have long-term access to all 120 sessions on demand. With the early registration rate for members at $299, that’s less than $3 per session. Plus there are no travel or hotel costs.

CEUs: Click here for details 

Event Website:


The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) Connected 2020

When: September 22 – 25, 2020

Cost: $295
Event Description: Organized as a virtual conference, GALA Connected will afford a wider audience the opportunity to engage and discuss what the future will hold. At an affordable price point it will also provide more professionals — be they supply- or buy-side, start-up or mature business, academia or private sector, core or allied industry, LSP or language technology provider — to join this conversation. We can only build a shared future through wider participation of the entire international community and GALA Connected is the right forum at the right time to begin the building process.

Event Website:


Midwest Association of Translators & Interpreters 17th Annual Conference 

When: September 26, 2020

Cost: Individual Members – $50.00, Non-members – $60.00, Student Member – $25.00, Student Non-member – $30.00

CEUs: pending from ATA, CCHI, Wisconsin Courts

Event Website:


Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters 2020 virtual conference: From Masks to Mastery

When: September 12-13 and September 19-20, 2020

Cost: General – $55.00 (For non OSTI members), General + One-Year OSTI Membership – $100.00, General + Two-Year OSTI Membership – $145.00, Member – $45.00, Students (Proof Required) – $45.00.

Event Description: 30+ sessions spanning over 2 weekends (4 days). Topics: Remote Interpreting, COVID-19, Medical, Advocacy, Ethics, Translation, Business Practices, and more. Meet your colleagues in the lunch breakout rooms, bring your literary translation work to read in the Open Mic, or just come to enjoy. 9/19 Saturday night social on Zoom. Show your support for your profession and community through your participation. Get inspired and recharged!

CEUs: ATA, OJD, WA AOC, WA DSHS, CCHI, IMIA, RID (click for details)

Event Website:


Slator: Managing Change and Innovation Workshop 

When: September 10 

Cost: 75$

Event Description: In this unprecedented time of business crisis, how can leaders manage change and drive innovation to ensure their businesses have the best chance to survive and grow? In this 90-minute interactive workshop, learn how Covid-19 has disrupted businesses, and what organisations can do to embrace change, transform and lead their organisations into the future.Participants will learn the frameworks for corporate innovation, the role of Agile methodology in a time of urgency, and how you can implement your ideas with  speed across your organisation.

Event Website:


Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters & Translators (TAHIT) 2020  Educational Symposium

When: November 20-21, 2020 

Event Description: Join us for our first virtual event that is sure to bring even greater diversity to our event full of networking, educational opportunities, and fun! Texans and language professionals from across the country and abroad have come to rely on TAHIT to create an annual event that does not disappoint!  It is the premiere event for CEUs, networking, learning, and making great new friends.  We do all this, while keeping our symposium the most affordable and highest quality in the nation, in our humble Texas opinion! This year we raise the bar once again.

Event Website:


Texas Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (TAJIT)2020 Annual Conference

When: September 12-13, 2020

Cost: Full conference Member price: $195.00

Full conference Non-member price: $235.00

Student rate: $100.00

Event Description:  Learn & Get Inspired: Every year TAJIT offers its members a wonderful  opportunity to meet their spoken and sign language interpreter colleagues as well as fellow translators, and to become better at what we do by sharing our knowledge and experiences. This year we had to get creative as we confronted the unrelenting scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic.  All our lives have been upended but this virtual conference will provide a safe avenue for us to learn together and maintain that precious sense of community we all treasure. The TAJIT Board of Directors and its Conference Committee have worked hard to put together a quality program that meets the high expectations set by past conferences. Here’s looking forward to another successful TAJIT Conference!    

CEUs:  JBCC CE: 8 hours, ATA 8 CEPs

Event Website:


The Evolution Of Localization: 10 Years in the Industry: Then, Now, and Beyond  with Memsource

Cost: Free

Event Description: This event will take a deep look into the role of technology in the present and future of the translation industry: How will one of the largest ever transactions in the localization technology space shape the industry? What is key for localization teams to keep up with the fast-developing world and how has it changed in the last decade? How do we understand machine translation today and what will be its role in the future?

When: September 15 

Event Website:


Professional Association of Mississippi Interpreters and Translators (PAMIT) and Interpreters and Translators Association of Alabama (ITAA) 2020 Joint Virtual Conference 

When: November 7, 2020

Cost: $35 – $65

Event Description: The first joint virtual conference will feature 3 live events: a keynote address in the morning, a networking event right after lunch, and a panel in the early evening. The rest of the sessions will be pre-recorded and accessible for two weeks. 

CEUs: Requested from CCHI, NBCMI, RID and Alabama Courts

Event Website:


The Translation and Localization Conference TLC + KT 2020

When: September 25 – 27, 2020

Event Description: Join us at one of the most renowned translation industry events in Europe!

This time entirely on-line together with the Polish event. Take part in the conference for the WHOLE translation industry! At our conferences, you will meet not only translators and interpreters, but also technical writers, QA experts, CAT tools experts, representatives of the academia, the media, multinational corporations… and many more!

Cost: 79.95 EURO

Event Website:


We hope you are able to attend these wonderful professional events. While we’ll miss travelling to new places and meeting colleagues in person, we are also excited about the new possibilities virtual conferences bring. Happy networking! 

English may be the world’s lingua franca, but not all business professionals can speak it. If you’re holding a business meeting with colleagues from around the world, you’ll likely need a corporate interpreter to help you communicate. However, to ensure that your meeting runs smoothly, you need to prepare. Here’s an overview of the steps you should take.


Choosing a Corporate Interpreter


First, you’ll want to ask participants which language(s) they need. Even if someone speaks English well, they may still prefer the assistance of an interpreter. This will also help you prevent confusion and misunderstanding during the meeting.


Next, you’ll need to choose the dialect. This ensures the interpreter uses the correct vocabulary and understands the business and cultural norms in the region. For example, say you’re doing business with a Brazilian company. A European Portuguese interpreter may use terms that have a different meaning in Brazil, and they may not understand the norms in South America.


If possible, you should choose an industry-specific interpreter. An interpreter who knows your industry will understand the terminology and protocols, and will likely provide a more accurate interpretation.


Preparing Your Corporate Interpreter


After you’ve hired an interpreter, hold a pre-meeting with them as far in advance as you can. This will give them time to prepare and do any necessary research.


Your pre-meeting should include an overview of the purpose of the meeting and what you plan to discuss. If you you’re giving a presentation, send them a copy to review. And be sure to cover any concepts or terms that the interpreter isn’t familiar with.


Preparing Your Participants    


Interpreting takes time. That means participants should plan to block out additional time in their schedules to prevent have any conflicts. This is especially true when you use video remote interpreting due to audio, video, or internet connectivity issues that can arise.


If participants are working from home, encourage them to take the meeting in a quiet space and use headphones to block out noise. Ask them to do their best to keep spouses, children, and pets from entering the room. Interpreters need to maintain their focus, and distractions make it more difficult to do their job.


Choosing an Interpreting Platform


Unless you plan to have an interpreter come onsite for an in-person meeting, you’ll need to choose an interpreting platform. Although platforms like Skype and Zoom work well for business meetings, they weren’t designed with interpreters’ needs in mind.


Fortunately, Boostlingo 4.1 includes features such as Zoom integration and four-way video conference scheduling to meet the needs of both business professionals and interpreters. It’s easy-to-use, secure, and GDRP compliant. You’ll also gain access to our Boost Professional Interpreter Network of linguists who speak over 200 languages.


Want to try it for yourself? Contact us to start your free trial today!

We all know that accuracy is one of the most important canons in the interpreter’s code of ethics – whether we are talking about medical or legal interpretation.

There are many aspects to accuracy, such as maintaining the register, style, and tone of the speaker, asking for pauses if necessary, taking efficient notes, and correcting errors if they occur. People who are not familiar with how interpreting works may also assume that in order to be accurate, interpreters have to interpret everything literally, or word for word. In many cases, it is possible to find the exact equivalent, especially when a speaker uses straightforward, non-metaphorical language. But some phrases, such as idiomatic expressions, or even individual words, are harder to interpret – and literal, word-for-word translation can lead to misinterpretation. But just because a word or a phrase is considered to be untranslatable – that is,  no equivalent can be found when it is translated into another language, it doesn’t mean it can be simply omitted – you just have to work a little harder to figure out how to translate the meaning behind such phrases. And because here at Boostlingo we love a good linguistic challenge, we put together a list of some fun untranslatable words and phrases for you to enjoy! 


  • Sem’ pyatnitz na nedele (Russian)  – literally translated to ‘for someone to have seven Fridays in a week”, this expression describes someone who  isn’t reliable, changes their mind often or doesn’t  keep their promises. 
  • Chī dòufu –  “To eat someone’s tofu’ (Chinese) means to flirt with someone. 
  • Tsundoku” (Japanese) –  buying books and letting them pile it up instead of reading them. 
  • Dar calabazas a alguien (Spanish) – literally translated as ‘to give someone pumpkins’, this phrase means to reject someone or to turn them down. 
  • “Peregar” (Russian) – the smell of last night’s alcohol on somebody’s breath. 
  • Gluggaveður” (Icelandic) – literally translated as ‘window-weather’, this words describes the kind of weather that is nice to look at through the window but not nice to be out in. 
  • Veshat’ lapshu na ushy – “to hang noodles on one’s ears” (Russian) means to tell lies to someone.
  • Abbiocco (Italian) – this word describes the sleepy feeling you get after a big meal.
  • Saru mo ki kara ochiru (Japanese) – literally translated as “Even monkeys fall from trees’, this proverb means that everyone makes mistakes. 
  • Pålegg (Norwegian): Anything and everything you can put on a slice of bread to make an open-faced sandwich. 


Are you interested in learning more untranslatable phrases? Check out this TED Talks blog where TED translators share some of their favorite difficult-to-translate idioms, this video where TED translators share even more untranslatable words and phrases and this list of illustrations containing untranslatable words and their meaning.


Legal Interpreters

Although legal interpreters are typically associated with the courtroom, they serve a vital role when it comes to community outreach. Organizations that provide legal services, advice, and education rely on interpreters to communicate with community members who are deaf or have limited English skills.


Why Work with a Legal Interpreter?


Hiring a legal interpreter can be costly. Organizations that have limited budgets may be tempted to ask bilingual employees or other community members to interpret for them. Yet they don’t always make the best interpreters. Why? Because it takes more than being bilingual.


Bilingual employees may have a strong legal vocabulary in both languages, but unless they’ve studied interpreting, they may struggle to keep up. Important information could be lost or misinterpreted.


Relying on community members, especially family members, is an even poorer choice. Community members not only lack training, but may be bias and could purposely mis-interpret or leave out information to protect a friend or family member.


However, you can avoid these problems by working with a legal interpreter. Not only are legal interpreters fluent in English and another language, but they:


  • Have completed specialized training to perform their job.
  • Understand the legal process and state laws.
  • Are neutral parties who have agreed to follow a code of ethics established by the state.


As you can see, a qualified legal interpreter can actually save you time and money by getting the job right the first time. And even if you’re still worried about budget constraints, there are a few ways to lower your expenses.


Interpreter Costs and Government Agencies 


If you work with a government agency, you won’t need to pay for an interpreter. It’s the agency’s responsibility to provide an interpreter either in-person, over-the-phone, or via video remote.


According to the Department of Justice, government agencies shouldn’t rely on community organizations to provide an interpreter, serve as interpreters, or pay for any reasonable accommodations.


In fact, government agencies must use neutral and accurate parties as interpreters during an investigation. If they rely on community-provided interpreters, it may trigger ethics questions around receiving a “gift” of interpreting from the organization.


The Benefits of Remote Interpreting


If you’re not working with a government agency and need an interpreter, remote interpreting is a more affordable alternative to bringing someone onsite. While in-person interpreting is often best, it’s not always possible. Fortunately, over-the-phone and video remote interpreting make it easy to communicate with someone who has limited English skills, without paying the additional expenses. Plus, video remote makes it possible assist someone who is deaf and uses American Sign Language (ASL).


Legal Interpreting and Boostlingo


Boostlingo’s interpreting platform makes it easy to schedule an onsite interpreter through your language company. You can also call an interpreter from the Boostlingo Professional Interpreters Network (BPIN) on-demand via video remote or over-the-phone. The interpreters in our BPIN speak over 200 languages, including ASL.


Want to learn more about how Boostlingo can help? Contact us today to schedule your free demo!



California AB5

Independent contractors make up a vital part of the language services industry. An interpreter or translator typically works with numerous organizations and is more akin to a small business owner than an employee. However, the California AB5 bill, which is designed to protect employees from being misclassified, threatens to prevent interpreters from doing their job in the state.


Here’s a look at AB5 and the impact it could have on interpreters and companies, if the bill isn’t modified.


California AB5: A Short Recap


The bill was introduced in response to the court decision on a lawsuit filed by Dynamex employees. (Former workers claimed they were classified as independent contractors, but were treated like employees.) In order to prevent employers from misclassifying employees, AB5 requires companies to use the ABC test when hiring a contractor in California. The worker must:


  1. Be free from the entity’s hiring control;
  2. Perform work that is “outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business”; and
  3. Be in an “independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.”


Exemptions include doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, and hairdressers among others. But interpreters and translators were left out.


The bill went into law on January 1, 2020, and includes a grace period for companies to comply until 2021.


California AB1850 and Interpreters


After receiving pushback from several groups (including the language industry), the California Senate introduced AB1850 on January 6, 2020 to address the problems with AB5. The new bill includes an exemption for translators, but not interpreters.


On June 11, 2020, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzales acknowledged on the assembly floor that the bill still needed work. But the California Senate has yet to announce any changes for interpreters. This poses a major problem for people who need an American Sign Language (ASL) or foreign language interpreter.


Why Interpreters Matter


Access to an interpreter isn’t a nice to have—it’s a legal right. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing must have access to communication in press conferences, courtrooms, and schools under the American With Disabilities Act of 1990. People with limited English proficiency are also entitled to an interpreter in these settings.


If organizations are barred from hiring contract interpreters, people may not have access to one when they need assistance. This could prevent millions of California residents from fully participating in their communities.


What Can Companies Do?


Ideally, the California Senate will add interpreters to the list of exemptions before the grace period ends. However, if you work for a company that hires contract interpreters, remote interpreting may offer a short-term solution in some instances. Since the bill only applies to workers in California, many organizations have started seeking contractors who work remotely in other states.


Think remote interpreting may be right for you? Contact Boostlingo to start your free trial with our unified interpretation management platform.

Interpreters and Translator

Today we start a series of posts spotlighting professional organizations for interpreters and translators. There are many benefits to joining a professional organization such as being listed in a member directory, receiving access to free or discounted classes, and opportunities to network with colleagues. The latter is especially important now – in the era of social distancing and cancelled events, it can be hard to find ways to connect with fellow interpreters. This is where professional communities come in – and today, we are learning about one such community: Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS), a Chapter of the American Translators Association (ATA).


About NOTIS 


Having started as an informal group of ATA members in Washington state, the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society held its inaugural meeting at the University of Washington on June 4, 1988. As of today, NOTIS has 575 active members in the five states it covers (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska), which makes NOTIS the biggest chapter in the ATA. 

Member benefits include being listed in the online member directory, getting access to a members-only job board, an opportunity to be published in the NOTIS newsletter and blog, opportunities to attend NOTIS events free or at a reduced members-only rate, and a chance to win a NOTIS Translation/Interpretation Scholarship. 


To find out what makes NOTIS a community worth joining, we interviewed Shelley Fairweather-Vega, NOTIS president and freelance Russian to English translator.


Who should consider joining NOTIS? 


Shelley Fairweather-Vega: “Everyone who works in any language field in the Pacific Northwest! We’re the professional home of interpreters and translators at all stages of their careers (students to retirees), working in all fields (medical to literary), working in all kinds of settings (tech companies to courts, freelance and in-house). We often work alone, and time with our colleagues is priceless. NOTIS brings people together to compare notes on language services across different languages and fields. By learning more about the work our colleagues do, we gain a better perspective on our own work and discover more possibilities for our own future careers. 


The benefits of a robust local organization are more obvious when we can get together in person. In pre-COVID times, every NOTIS workshop or happy hour brought in colleagues new to the field or new to the organization, who were always happy to discover this professional community waiting for them.

Now, with events all online, it’s more difficult to get a sense of that local camaraderie. But it’s still there. We have not seen a dropoff in membership since the pandemic hit, even though some of our members have experienced a drop in income during these difficult times. That tells me that our members value belonging to NOTIS and intend to stick with us until we can see each other in person again. And meanwhile, our online events have been extremely well-attended. NOTIS offers trainings that other organizations are not providing, everything from small literary translation workshops to sessions on very specific medical terminology for interpreters, court interpreting skills to discussions on vicarious trauma. Membership is inexpensive – student membership is just $15 per year, and individual professional membership is $45. We always welcome new members.”

certified interpreter

The Coronavirus pandemic has exposed the unmet need for medical interpreters throughout the United States. In April 2020, the University of Louisville Hospital in Kentucky saw Spanish and Amharic medical interpreters providing assistance to 30 to 40 people each day. And that’s just one hospital and two languages!


As the number of limited-English speakers continues to rise, so does the demand for certified medical interpreters who can assist patients and healthcare professionals. That means now is the perfect time to become one.


Education and Training for Medical Interpreters


While the career path is different for everyone, you must have at least a high school or equivalent diploma. Some interpreters earn Bachelor’s degrees in foreign languages, translation studies, or in healthcare-related fields. Others enroll in medical interpreting certificate programs that require a certain number of training hours to complete. (These are typically offered by universities and are different from national certifications.)


Many hospitals, clinics, and healthcare systems have their own in-house requirements for hiring interpreters. You don’t need to become certified, but it’s the best way to ensure you can work anywhere.


Certifications for Medical Interpreters  


Unlike legal interpreting, few states offer certification. However, there are two national organizations that certify medical interpreters. The qualifications are similar, but there are a few key differences. Let’s take a look at each:


The Certification Commission for Health Care Interpreters (CCHI)


To get certified through the CCHI, you must:


  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a U.S. high school diploma (or GED) or the equivalent from another country.
  • Complete a minimum of 40 hours of medical interpreter training.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English and the language for which you’re seeking certification.
  • Pass the CoreCHI, a 100 multiple-choice computer-based exam that covers the basics of medical interpreting.
  • Pass an oral exam in English and the target language, if you want to get certified for Arabic, Mandarin, or Spanish.


You’ll also need to complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain your CCHI certification.


The National Board for Certified Medical Interpreters (NBCMI)


The NBCMI only offers certification exams for Spanish, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese. To get certified, you must:


  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a high school diploma (or GED).
  • Complete a minimum of 40 hours of medical interpreter training.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English and the language for which you’re seeking certification.
  • Pass a multiple-choice written exam in English.
  • Pass an oral exam after you’ve passed the written exam.


To maintain your NBCMI, you’ll need to complete 30 hours of approved training every five years.


Preparing for the Future


Once you become a certificated medical interpreter, you can work anywhere in the U.S. And telehealth and remote interpreting options make it easier than ever to accept assignments no matter where you live.


If you’re already a working medical interpreter, give Boostlingo’s interpreting platform a try. You can manage your onsite schedule, take on-demand video or over-the-phone requests, and more!