The role of the medical interpreter is complex and multi-faceted. Please refer below to two working papers from the National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare (NCIHC).
Some Definitions (From NCIHC web site)
A person who renders a message spoken in one language into a second language, and who abides by a code of professional ethics.
The process of understanding and analyzing a spoken or signed message and re-expressing that message faithfully, accurately and objectively in another language, taking the cultural and social context into account. The purpose of interpreting is to enable communication between two or more individuals who do not speak each other’s languages.
Interpreting that takes place in medical settings of any sort, including doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, home health visits, mental health clinics, and public health presentations. Typically the setting is an interview between a healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, lab technician) and a patient (or the patient and one or more family members).
An individual with appropriate training experience who is able to interpret with consistency and accuracy and who adheres to a code of professional ethics.
The conversion of a written text into a corresponding written text in a different language.