California Healthcare Interpreters Association
This is California's most important professional association of interpreters. They are responsible for writing California's Interpreter Standards of Practice.

American Translators Association
This is the nation's largest Translators association. They are well-known for their annual and specialized conferences. There is an Interpreters Division that includes medical interpreting.

Northern California Translators Association

This site serves as a focal point for translators in Northern California. They are considered the region's chapter of the American Translators Association.

National Counsel on Interpreting in Health Care
This organization promotes culturally competent professional health care interpreting as a means to support equal access to health care services for individuals with limited English proficiency.

Society of Medical Interpreters
This organization promotes professionalism and excellence in interpretive services to enhance the provision of health and social services to individuals with limited English proficiency.


Cross Cultural Health Care Program
This organization is responsible for designing one of the earliest training programs for interpreters in health care. They also wrote Bridging the Gap, a well-known text used in training health care interpreters.

Diversity Rx
This website provides national information and resouces on medical interpreting.
This governmental website provides policy perspectives on meaningful access for people who are limited English proficient.
Credit Curriculum

The  Curriculum for the Health Care Interpreter Certificate is designed to train bilingual and bicultural students to develop the awareness, knowledge and skills necessary for effective language interpretation in health care settings.  Through academic preparation, practical skills training and service in community based health care settings and educational organizations, certificate candidates learn:

a) roles and responsibilities of a health care interpreter;
b) basic knowledge of common medical conditions, treatments and procedures;
c) insight in language and cultural nuances for specific communities;
d) application of interpreting skills in English and language of service.

Admission Requirements
Attend orientation
2. Submit a written application

Required Courses
Students must complete the following sequence of required courses listed below:

HLTH 80 Interpreting in Health Care Settings I

HLTH 81 Interpreting in Health Care Settings II

HLTH 82 Field Experience in Health Care Interpreting

Recommended Courses
Prior to enrollment or during the first semester:

HIT 51 Basic Medical Terminology (1unit)

ANAT 14 Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology (4units)

PHYS 12 Introduction to Human Physiology (4units)
Requirements for Certificate of Completion
Complete each course with a grade of "C" or higher.

For more information call the program directly at (415) 452-5158 or the Health Science Department at (415) 239-3220.

Interpreting in Health Care Settings
This training program is designed for bilingual individuals who are interested in facilitating linguistic and cultural communication between patients and health care providers.  This is a competency based training program involving lectures, discussions, simulations, field work and special student projects.  Besides working with the course instructor, students will be working closely with their assigned Language Coach to enhance their linguistic and cultural competencies. Minimal student qualifications include the ability to speak fluently in his/her language of service and is committed to the entire training program which consists of 3 courses.  The three courses are briefly described below:

1. Health 80 is an introduction to medical interpreting.   This course is designed to develop awareness, knowledge and skills necessary for language interpretation in health care settings.  At the completion of this course, students will be able to:

describe the roles and responsibilities of a health care interpreter;
explain the code of ethics involved in medical interpreting;
discuss the similarities and or differences between the biomedical culture and student's own culture,
acquire a basic knowledge of common medical conditions, treatments and procedures;
gain insight in language and cultural nuances in specific communities;
have opportunities to explore and develop other knowledge and skills necessary in the art of interpretation.

2. Health 81 is focuses on training bilingual individuals to be an integral member of the health care team in bridging language and cultural gaps between patients/clients and health care providers.  Further enhancement of interpreting skills learned in Health 80 covering specialized health care service areas such as genetics, mental health, and death and dying. Emphasis also on the development of cultural competencies in the community  and workplace and careers in interpretation.   Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge of managing the flow of the interpreting session and mastering of  these skills through classroom activities and examinations.
Identify health issues, practices and beliefs of specific ethnic communities.
Identify strategies and cultural sensitive approaches in working with diverse cultures.
Demonstrate knowledge of cross-cultural communication.
Gain a broader perspective in the different health care service areas.
Increase health care related terminology.
Identify strategies in self-care.
Demonstrate skills in the development of a portfolio.

3. Health 82 consists of field work and classroom simulations focused on application of knowledge and technical interpreting skills learned in Health 80 and Health 81.  Upon completion of this course, the students will be able to:

Discuss and demonstrate understanding of the interpreter roles and the scope of practice relative to other health care professionals in the assigned agency.
Discuss and demonstrate competence in elements of workplace, culture and professionalism: time management, reporting and accountability, maintaining personal and professional boundaries.
Apply skills learned to the field work setting(s): conflict management, cross-cultural communication, and technical aspects of interpreting.
Identify specific areas for self improvement needed for interpreting in health care settings.


HCI Manuals


HCI 10th Year Anniversary


Roles of Interpreter Video


Interpreting Volunteer Opportunities

Medical Interpreter Video

(Harborview Medical Center &

University of Washington Medical Center)

Send comments or questions to:

Nora Goodfriend-Koven

Program Coordinator

(415) 452-5158

Office:  Cloud Hall 408A