Dari/Pashto Medical Interpreter

Springfield, MA

General Description:

Conduct professional behavior commensurate with that expected for a health professional.  This includes maintenance of strict confidentiality, professional dress and manner, adherence to strict standards of accuracy in interpretation and prompt attention to patient’s health needs.

All work will be conducted on site unless arranged beforehand with the Refugee Health & Interpreter Supervisor.  Like all employees of the Health Center, the Interpreter is expected at times of short staffing to assist in clerical tasks outside his/her usual scope.  This may include scheduling patients’ registration or assistance with special projects.

Reports to:       Interpreter Supervisor

Salary/Status:   Non-Exempt

Department:     Interpreter Services

Minimum Requirements:

  1. Associates Degree or High School Diploma or equivalent background and experience.
  2. Complete fluency in English and the target language.
  3. Experience either in a broad medical field or completion of a medical Interpreter training program.
  4. High level of oral and written communication skills in target language and English; ability to prepare effective reports.
  5. Ability to make effective presentations to large groups of people.
  6. Must possess the ability of positively interact with patients, staff personnel, visitors and the general public.
  7. Must show discretion in the handling of confidential information.
  8. Must possess the ability to work independently, problem solve and make sensible decisions for the well-being of the patient.
  9. Strong organizational skills
  10. Ability to use a computer to track patient flow, word process and schedule patients.
  11. Friendly, reliable, and professional both in behavior and appearance.
  12. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with other employees, individuals seeking assistance and the general public.

Principle Responsibilities and Duties:

  1. Understand a variety of regional accents and linguistic styles for target language.
  2. Select appropriate mode of interpretation for each situation.
  3. Interpret with highest degree of accuracy and completeness in verbal interpretation, sight interpretation modes and written translation.
  4. Self-correct, understand own linguistic limitations, seeks clarification and accepts corrections.
  5. Pick up cues from encounter participants regarding level of understanding and/or need for clarification.
  6. Strong writing skill and understanding of translation process.

 Cultural awareness:

  1. Understand language as an expression of culture recognizes the underlying assumptions of each party about medicine, the encounter, the illness etc.; uses this understanding to empower patient and provider to better understand each other.
  2. Intervene as intercultural mediator when communication is compromised by culture-bound messages.
  3. Avoid generalizations and stereotyping.
  4. Use culturally appropriate behavior and is able to choose appropriate time to clarify or interject by respecting the goals of the encounter.
  5. Be aware of own personal values, beliefs and cultural characteristics which may be a source of conflict or discomfort in certain situations, is able to acknowledge these and/or to withdraw from encounters when these may interfere with successful interpretation.

Strong interpreting skills:

  1. Explain role of the interpreter to patient, providers and other medical staff.
  2. Recognize the complexity of the clinical encounter and added factor of linguistic barrier.
  3. Set a tone of the patient and provider encounter to manage spatial configuration and flow of communication to preserve accuracy and completeness, and to assess and address potential areas of discomfort for patient.
  4. Encourages and fosters direct communication between provider and patient.
  5. Maintain professional distance and integrity.
  6. Diffuse conflict between parties by remaining calm and impartial.
  7. Clarify instructions; follow up steps in a diplomatic and effective manner.


  1. Understand and abide by health center’s policies on patient confidentiality, informed consent, non-discrimination and by interpreters code of ethics and standards of practice.


Address concerns raised during or after an encounter by encouraging involved parties to make appropriate referrals to patient navigators or inform managers to address the matter.

This position requires compliance with Caring Health Center’s compliance standards, including its Standards of Conduct, Compliance Program, and policies and procedures. Such compliance will be an element considered as part of the Medical Interpreter’s regular performance evaluation.

This position also requires the ability to use a computer, work at a computer workstation, viewing a CRT and have some knowledge of a keyboard.  

From time to time, this position requires the ability to work long and arduous hours.