Medical Interpreters vs Legal Interpreters - Speak Your Language | Australia

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Medical Interpreters vs Legal Interpreters

Posted on: February 11, 2020 by admin

Interpreting services are provided across Australia to overcome communication barriers, this includes phone interpreting services and well as onsite interpreting. When it comes to the medical or legal interpreting services, medical and legal interpreters are always required to be engaged for court hearings, hospital critical discussions and decisions, service agencies, banks, as well as other legal and administrative offices.

Translation and interpretation are becoming one of the most top emerging careers in Australia due to its multicultural nature as well as globalisation and becoming one of the important economic hubs globally since there is a requirement to break down any language barriers between speakers of different languages. Medical and legal interpreters provide a smooth communication channel for lawyers and medical care providers who speak different languages yet thrive to provide the best possible level of services and treatments through effective communication by engaging one of the best interpreting companies in Australia.

Even though medical and legal interpreters have a very similar job in nature, they still have few differences as the field they work in would require a different interpreter who is deeply specialised in the medial or legal field, which makes their day-to-day activities massively different.

Models of Interpretation

Medical interpretation is generally performed in a consecutive way, since it’s logical to start interpreting as the speaker has finished saying a certain sentence, and the receiver is waiting to understand to understand the ‘translation’ in order to respond, taking into consideration any notes or feelings implied by the speaker and trying to pass them on as close as possible.

While in legal interpretation, the model is different since it’s more simultaneous, where simultaneous interpreting is defined by listening or watching to the speaker and speak or sign at the same time while someone else is speaking or signing. This requires a very professional interpreter who can simultaneously interprets the conversation and is able to concentrate for a certain period.

Sight translation is another interpreting method, in which case the professional interpreter reads from a certain source while interpreting in the target language to the receiver. This is often done in the medical as well as legal sectors in order to interpret certain documents, reports or instructions to get a witness to comment or make a consent.

Interpretation Setup

On-site interpreting: this is the face-to-face interpreting.

Telephone interpreting: this is commonly called ‘phone translation’. It’s convenient, time-saving and much more cost effective than onsite interpreting.

Interpreting message delivery: this is a service done by certain interpretation service providers where they can deliver a message via email or text to a certain person in a target language and get back to you with answer in your language.


If the interpretation service is provided onsite, medical interpreters are usually engaged at medical centres, hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics, mental health facilities, dentists, rehabilitation centres, or substance abuse clinics. While legal interpreters usually spend their days between courts, detention centres, police stations, lawyers’ offices, legislative hearings, administrative hearings, real estate offices, law offices, or jails.


Each interpreter will help in different situations. This includes surgeries, medical emergencies, therapy and general medical appointments, independent medical exams, and psychological evaluations for the medical interpreters, while for legal interpreters they are usually hired in trials, arraignments, civil and criminal hearings, pretrial conferences, interrogations, and motions.

Need to hire a highly specialised medical or legal interpreter at an affordable rate? Contact Speak Your Language today.