Customized Medical Interpreter Training


The National Center for Interpretation (NCI), a leader in the field of language services, is ready and able to assist healthcare providers in meeting industry policies, federal Title VI obligations, and setting the standard for the provision of patient- and family-centered care to their limited- and non-English speaking patients.

Interpreter training—and the more comprehensive approach of combining training with assessment—provide significant opportunities for healthcare providers to create meaningful access in support of their entire community.  Training expands the technical registers and semantic domains used in healthcare settings, and clarifies the role of the interpreter in fostering meaningful access to healthcare.  Together, these aspects of training reduce interpreter error, allowing doctor/patient communication and collaboration.  Assessment assures the healthcare provider that the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of interpreters are sufficiently present to ensure access.  In addition to ensuring compliance with regulations, the provision of appropriate language services:

  • Equalizes access to care
  • Reduces liability
  • Reduces the length of stay for LEP patients
  • Improves LEP patient outcomes
  • Reduces health disparities
  • Improves LEP patient compliance with care
  • Improves patient and provider satisfaction

NCI’s Training Expertise

The National Center for Interpretation has been successfully engaged in (1) cutting-edge, results-driven interpreter training and (2) the development of innovative interpreter proficiency testing since 1983.  NCI pioneered the foundational interpreter training and certification instruments and processes universally accepted in the field of interpretation.  

As interpreter associations began discussion on a national set of standards, NCI proactively developed, piloted, validated, and implemented the Medical Interpreter Competency Examination (MICE).  The MICE provides a comprehensive view into a medical interpreter’s proficiency by assessing his or her skills and knowledge in ethics/protocol, medical terminology, sight translation, and consecutive interpretation.  The MICE has been used successfully by several hospitals to identify staff with the ability to interpret at a high enough level to provide appropriate services. Since 2003, NCI has also developed and administered its 2-week Medical Interpreter Training Institute.  During that time, NCI has trained over 400 healthcare interpreters.  Medical Institute graduates have passed NCI’s Medical Interpreter Competency Examination at roughly 2 ½ times the average rate for this test. 

Training and Testing Options

Our existing Medical Interpreter Training Institute curriculum can be adapted to meet your specific needs. The length of training can also be customized to fit your needs: 2 days, 3 days, 4 days or longer. Medical interpreter assessment with the MICE is an option for any training session.

Overview of the Curriculum

NCI’s MITI focuses on a variety of areas essential to the medical interpreter, including:

  • Interpreter ethics and protocol
  • Cultural issues in medical interpreting
  • Interpreting modes and techniques
  • Concepts and terminology
  • Skill development (consecutive interpretation and sight translation)
  • Major diseases and medical specializations with a focus on topics of your choosing (such as diabetes, cardiology, oncology, gastroenterology, pediatrics)

The training is guided by our flexible curriculum and established pedagogy, and is customizable to better fit the specific needs of your organization. 

Skill-building practice sessions constitute the majority of the seminar contact time.  After an introductory lecture for each interpretation mode, participants engage in small group work, and critique and analysis of their work with the instructor(s).  This work consists primarily of actual interpreting practice through role-playing and/or pre-recorded scripts and documents.  Skill-building in the consecutive mode of interpretation includes specialized terminology, concepts, and opportunities to practice memory techniques and note-taking abilities.  Sight translation exercises include specific documents related to hospital and medical-related scenarios, giving students an opportunity to practice both formal and informal registers of language.  During and after each lab-like skill development session the instructor provides feedback and critique.  This critique usually covers both the strengths and areas that need improvement, including grammar, vocabulary and specialized terminology.


The cost of customized or on-demand medical interpreter training and assessment depends on a variety of factors.  Interested organizations should contact NCI to discuss their specific needs and receive an individualized bid.  As a general reference, the base cost for training is $175/day per participant, with a minimum of 2 days training and 10 participants.  That base cost is then modified according to variables such as:

  • Provision of a venue and A/V
  • Location
  • # of participants
  • Length of training
  • Special language needs
  • Degree of development required for customization

The cost of administration of the MICE is $225/examinee, with a minimum of three examinees.  Up to six examinees may be tested in a single day.

Past and Current Clients

In addition to its own training and testing efforts, NCI has helped a number of healthcare providers and other agencies meet their training and testing needs, including:

  • UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA
  • State of Texas, Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
  • City of San Francisco Fire Department
  • Kaiser Permanente/Alameda Alliance for Health
  • Tucson Medical Center, Tucson, AZ
  • Memorial Medical Center, Las Cruces, NM
  • Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Holy Cross Hospital, Nogales, AZ
  • Cancer Treatment Centers of America©, Goodyear, AZ
  • Tele-Interpreters


Customized Training