Medical Interpretation

srtamollygreen

Registered
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
127
Likes
36
Hello, everyone!

I am wondering if anyone has any insights into the medical interpretation sector en Buenos Aires? For clarification: I do not mean translation. I know the UBA has a program for translation+interpretation and have a friend who actually completed her studies there and now is a qualified translator. This, however, is not what I am inquiring about.

I currently reside in the US as a medical interpreter for Spanish-English, and I have lived in Argentina before while doing an exchange program. I try to go back to visit annually and honestly, I just want to move back for good. I have worked very hard to get to where I am as a medical interpreter, however, and I would like to continue that work in Argentina. I am still in the beginning stages of my research as far as what opportunities are out there for medical interpretation but I am wondering if anyone out there has more information or can give me some leads.

I don't mind pursuing translation, but I do not have the background in it that I do in interpretation, and I prefer to primarily stay with interpretation--not for the money but because it is what I am passionate about.

Any help would be so appreciated! Thank you in advance.

Hola a todos!

Quisiera saber si alguien por ahí tiene conocimientos/información del sector de interpretación medica en Buenos Aires? Para aclarar: no quise decir traducción. Ya sé que la UBA tiene un programa para traducción e interpretación y además tengo a una amiga que se recibió de esa carera y ahora trabaja como traductora calificada. Sin embargo, esto no es lo que me interesa.

Actualmente vivo en EEUU como intérprete médica español <> inglés, y ya viví en la Argentina mientras estudié un programa de intercambio. Intento volver anualmente y de veras, solamente quiero volver a vivir allí de una vez. Sin embargo, me he esforzado bastante para llegar a ser intérprete médica y quisiera seguir así allí en la Argentina. Recién empiezo mis investigaciones con respecto a las oportunidades que haya para interpretación médica pero quiero saber si alguno de uds tiene más información o me puede pasar unas pistas.

No me molestaría dedicarme parcialmente a la traducción, pero no tengo la misma formación en ella que tengo en interpretación y prefiero quedarme principalmente con la interpretación--no por plata sino porque es lo que más me apasiona.

Agradezco cualquier ayuda! Desde ya muchas gracas.
 

RichardP

Registered
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
855
Likes
631
Your best bet would be to work freelance as a medical interpreter in the US via Skype. You won't find much demand for medical interpretation in Argentina as you do in the US where hospitals are required to provide interpretation services.
 

srtamollygreen

Registered
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
127
Likes
36
Your best bet would be to work freelance as a medical interpreter in the US via Skype. You won't find much demand for medical interpretation in Argentina as you do in the US where hospitals are required to provide interpretation services.
I was afraid of that. Thanks, RichardP, for your response.

The problem is, I already freelance in the US. I really want to move back to Argentina. I know there is a need for English medical interpreters... maybe things will change. In the meantime, maybe I should solely pursue translation or interpretation in other sectors as well... hm.

If anyone has any additional feedback, please send it my way. Thanks!
 

Sabrina

Registered
Joined
Jan 20, 2016
Messages
15
Likes
10
Hi! I am an English-Spanish translator in Argentina for the Pharmaceuticals industry for 15 years. I have also worked as a medical interpreter at congresses in the past, but eventually dropped it because there was much more work as a translator. As RichardP said, there is not much demand for medical interpretation here... we do not have that large an English speaking population. It is different in the US where the Latin population is large and they NEED interpreters at hospitals. In fact there is not much need for interpretation, period. At least not at congresses and the sort. Bilinguals here will always find a niche eventually. You can work as an Admin Assisstant, guide, teacher... or even as a translator. But you should know that translation rates aren't too attractive unless you have solid clients.
 

syngirl

Registered
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
2,590
Likes
1,932
Hi Molly - are you a community interpreter or conference interpreter? Here there is really no need for community interpretation, but there are medical conferences that come up and always need a medical interpreter in the booth, while many people here understand English, it is tiring for the audience to try to keep up over a 3 day conference.

However, due to the economy, there aren't that many medical / pharmaceutical conferences being held in Argentina, and therefore the number of medical interpreters needed is very low. The medical interpreters that are working here are mostly doctors themselves that do the conference interpretation out of personal interest more than anything. There seems to be more activity in Chile, Mexico, or basically anywhere else. The amount of work here really depends on the economy going well, and making a living off of conference interpreting alone is pretty much impossible.

So, if you are looking to do conference interpretation, you may be able to get some work here, but you will need to support yourself with another job as well. On top of that your work will be 90% working into Spanish -- I'm not sure if you meant you are Spanish A Eng B, or work only Spanish into Eng, but if you are a community interpreter I assume you can work into both.

If it is conference interpretation, I would start with getting in touch with interpreters listed in Argentina with AIIC, or with the Argentine interpreter groups the ADICA and the AATI. They may be able to help guide you.
 

Girino

Registered
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
2,616
Likes
2,118
Hi! I am an English-Spanish translator in Argentina for the Pharmaceuticals industry for 15 years. I have also worked as a medical interpreter at congresses in the past, but eventually dropped it because there was much more work as a translator. As RichardP said, there is not much demand for medical interpretation here... we do not have that large an English speaking population. It is different in the US where the Latin population is large and they NEED interpreters at hospitals. In fact there is not much need for interpretation, period. At least not at congresses and the sort. Bilinguals here will always find a niche eventually. You can work as an Admin Assistant, guide, teacher... or even as a translator. But you should know that translation rates aren't too attractive unless you have solid clients.

I don't think translation rates are particularly unattractive here than anywhere else. There is one Argentinian translator making 6-figures a year and has also a lot of local contacts (see her entry here). Most translators I know have a mix of local and virtual clients. Also, the suggested minimum fees set by the main translators' associations in Argentina, AATI and CTP, are pretty much in line with the market offering for EN<>ES in Europe (which is around EUR 0.07/word as of now). The only difference is that in Europe that a rate is for translators working with agencies, while the CTP is addressed to translators who deal mostly with direct clients.

There are also several large companies with HQ in the US because it's cool and offices in Argentina because it is cheap. Some of them are really the lowest player out there, but that have a huge client base. For example, TrustedTranslations, Translation Back Office, TransPerfect (the latter with many offices throughout the world, not just here).

In my experience, the translation industry is really divided into those who translate like crazy for little, and those translating less but for higher rates. If you want to be in the second group, you have to stand out and join reputable and highly specialized associations, not necessarily made of just translators. Being on freelancing portals like upwork, odesk, freelance.com, proz.com, translatorscafe.com etc. won't earn you big paying customers. That's where all the unemployed people go to find their first jobs. There is plenty of request for people translating for €4 a hour, and plenty of offering. But you won't make a living out of that.

Instead, to get to your better-paying audience you should be where quality-valuing clients go, i.e. ATA, ITI or whatever your local translation association is called. Usually people "just trying" to be translators won't spend $300/year to be members of a professional association.

If you are a medical/pharma translator, I suggest you to join http://www.tremedica.org/.
If you are an ES<>EN interpreter, I suggest you to follow Tony Rosado. He will be in Buenos Aires on April 24-25th for an informal meeting about Defending the profession (of interpreters): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1126479940745362


I agree with Sabrina's comment about the medical interpreting possibilities here in Argentina, but if you really want to come here, I'd suggest you to contact high-profile clients like plastic surgery clinics that cater clients from the US looking for nose and tight jobs in Buenos Aires.
 

srtamollygreen

Registered
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
127
Likes
36
Sabrina & Syngirl: thank you both very much! You actually do have a large community of English speakers from all over the world: tourists. I have met many of them on more than one of my stays and the trend is broken Spanish enough to get by but by no means enough to navigate a crucial medical scenario.

Those associations are a great help to me--thank you so much! I am a community interpreter and can do both English - Spanish & Spanish - English.

As I said earlier, it wouldn't bother me to pursue translation in addition to interpretation as that seems to be where more work is. Maybe I can break into the translation industry while doing the conferences on the side... even if it means traveling to Chile frequently, I would be happy with that. Additionally, maybe I can see about doing remote interpreting from AR for other countries... hm...

Sabrina, in regards to clientele: I have read that clients from abroad (like Europe) are more desirable because generally speaking they are more consistent and offer higher rates, is this accurate?

Alternatively, I have actually thought about going into nursing in Argentina and having my interpreting experience in my back pocket to leverage my options... but that is for an entirely different thread.

You have both given me much to think on; I appreciate it!
 

Sabrina

Registered
Joined
Jan 20, 2016
Messages
15
Likes
10
srtamollygreen: A rate of 0.07 euros would be 1.19 argentine pesos. You probably won't find that rate here. You can check out the suggested rates on the CTPBA's web site: http://www.traductores.org.ar/aranceles-minimos ($0.86 into Spanish and $1.11 into English). Mind you, these are suggested rates. Clients may pay 10%-20% under. Translations agencies here can offer rates as low as 0.45. Do you get the picture?

I have heard of people working as interpreters for visitors from abroad who come in for doctor appointments because some treatments here are cheaper, but I don't know if this is hearsay.

In addition to Serafina's suggestion to join Tremedica, there are some dictionaries and resources that are essential to working as a medical translator. Check out Cosnautas: http://www.cosnautas.com/
 

idois2

Registered
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
14
Likes
12
I have done some medical interpreting (conference, simultaneous, consecutive) and can share the following, perhaps some of which may be useful to you:

The work that I am familiar with here in BsAs is a subcontract from a US-based interpreting agency. The pay here in BsAs is very, very poor, and for example, for medical telephone interpreting, it is at around 7USD/hr if you are lucky and they need you (perhaps you speak other languages hence you are a good investment for them). You are actually interpreting via telephone (not skype or mobile) for Central-American Spanish speaking population in the US, but you are getting paid much, much less than if you were working in the US.

If you are US citizen, this same US agency can contract you while you are based in BsAs (and pay you on 1099, hence, income earned abroad for tax exclusion), but you have to negotiate your rate, and it will probably be less than if you were physically present in the US, where they can use you for hospital interpreting as well, for example, or court interpreting for medical-legal. I do not know if it makes much difference if you are certified or not for telephone medical interpreting in BsAs, but, if you want to do federal-level serious interpreting (medical-legal for example) for US-based agency, I would go for a certification.

As for conference medical interpreting, having done it on few occasions in Colombia and Peru as well, I can tell you that medical conference interpreting was more of a formality than a real necessity.
 

syngirl

Registered
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
2,590
Likes
1,932
Molly -- just some encouragement -- my interpretation professor is doing a consecutive tomorrow for the Argentine Medical Association so there is some work out there ;)

I`m not sure if you are already working as a conference interpreter as well? If not try to get some work in conferences before you move so that you already have conference hours on your CV. The working conditions here can be quite rigorous compared to say UN or EU levels that have relatively rigid guidelines for interpretation. Booth times here are commonly pushed beyond reasonable limits (especially as the nature of Argentines is to have everything run over time), and the sound conditions are often not ideal.

The medical tourism might be a good opportunity to explore, also if you want community work that is may be more fulfilling than plastic surgery consults, try to get involved with some of the NGOs that do medical operations overseas.
 
Top