SFU to run medical translation interpretation certificate program

The bilingual program is for Mandarin Chinese to English interpretation

PHOTO: Julia Zyablova / Unsplash

Written by: Karissa Ketter, News Writer 

SFU is running a three-month, part-time medical translation interpretation certificate program. The bilingual Mandarin Chinese and English program gives students the experience, training, and qualifications needed in order to pass their credential exams held by the Society of Translators and Interpreters of British Columbia. 

Rose Jen and Wendy from the Interpretation and Translation Program at SFU hosted an information session on July 16, 2021 to provide information on the programs. 

The course centres around ethics training, medical terminology, and hard skills. The required courses will cover practice, interpreting skills in medical and health-care settings, protocols and field training for medical translators and interpreters, and foundational medical knowledge.

The information session held an ethics workshop to prepare incoming students. 

Rose Jen highlighted the importance of “confidentiality, impartiality, accountability, accuracy [ . . . ] and transparency” when working in the medical field. She explained interpreters need to develop skills such as sight translation, shadowing, note-taking, and cultural competency.

Field training allows students to practice their skills with health-care professionals, “giving [them] that preparation before throwing you into the pool,” explained Rose Jen.

“We invite [ . . . ] real life health-care professionals from different fields and specialties [ . . . ] to share their experiences with interpreters,” said Rose Jen.

The certificate also contains courses on medical terminology, the human body systems, and field training. 

The presentation noted the median income for working medical interpreters is $27/hour in Canada but often ranges from $19 to $33.23 in British Columbia. 

Wendy said the overall labour market in BC is seeing a 52% replacement of retiring workers and 44.8% of new jobs due to economic growth. “This industry is looking for new blood,” reported Wendy. 

The program takes place from September to December of 2021 and involves synchronous remote learning three days a week. Students work in class sizes of 20 students. 

The tuition fee is the same for domestic and international students: $3,950. Students must have an undergraduate degree and proficiency in English and Mandarin Chinese to apply. 

The program is recognized in Canada as well as countries such as China, Australia, and the United States.