What about the in-house positions for foreign translators in US?
Thread poster: Liping Deng

Liping Deng
Local time: 03:43
English to Chinese
+ ...
Feb 12, 2012

I just received an offer from Wake Forest University for the MA program in Intercultrual Services in Healthcare (concentrate on interpreting/translation affairs in hospitals and the industry) with a 9-month study length. I'm concerning about its worth for taking such a program. Is it helpful in finding a in-house job in America? As far as I know, only citizens or green card holders are eligible for most of the positions. Another thing I want to learn about is if my working language pair is competitive in in-house jobs in the US job market, as it seems that Spanish or French is more popular while I'm a translator between Chinese and English, sometimes Japanese. Hope somebody can help me with these. Thanks!

 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:43
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
You would get a student visa Feb 12, 2012

but you wouldn't be allowed to work in the US on a student visa. Secondly, unemployment is very high right now in a difficult economy. It's best to contact your nearest US Embassy or Consulate for more information, or go to this website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/. You will get the most up-to-date information there, as these rules and regulations change - sometimes frequently.

 

Thor Truelson  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:43
Swedish to English
+ ...
Well... Feb 12, 2012

It's true that most big hospitals in large cities have a corps of in-house interpreters. They may occasionally be called upon to translate, but are really more geared towards interpreting and may or may not be that involved in the translation aspect of the industry.

As a speaker of Chinese, I imagine your skills would be most called upon in a big city hospital on the west coast (LA, SF, Seattle). Although the directors of the in-house hospital programs (who don't really interpret but rather schedule/organize) sometimes speak some pretty far out stuff. A few years ago in Minneapolis, the director of one such program was an American lady who spoke Indonesian. Needless to say, she probably saw very little real language-related work, but instead ran the hospital interpreting program. So if you were the program administrator, you could speak anything, I suppose, and could potentially work anywhere.

That said, you would need a green card or citizenship to work in the US. Chances are you wouldn't get a green card just to come and speak a little Chinese in a hospital. There are tons of native speaking Chinese people with residency who work as medical interpreters and they in turn could potentially be in-house program directors too, if the price was right and they had the skills. But if the price was right, then perhaps another more skilled group would vie for the position. As it is, hospital administrative work is pretty well paid, but not something that catches the eye of people who want to make truck loads of money.

The pay for in-house hospital interpreters is also rather low in most cases, so unless you were the program director, you would probably make way more doing translation (not medical interpretation).

So in sum, if you lived in the US and hospital work was all you aspired to, then you could perhaps find a job. If you currently do not have US residency and do not foresee obtaining it (through marriage, the green card lottery, etc.), then this program is probably worthless.

My $.02.


 

Liping Deng
Local time: 03:43
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'm worrying about the Job prospects after graduation Feb 13, 2012

Woodstock wrote:

but you wouldn't be allowed to work in the US on a student visa. Secondly, unemployment is very high right now in a difficult economy. It's best to contact your nearest US Embassy or Consulate for more information, or go to this website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/. You will get the most up-to-date information there, as these rules and regulations change - sometimes frequently.


Thanks for your answer, Woodstock! I think If I decide to go, I will get the degree first. What I'm concerned is whether I could obtain a job visa in the US after I graduated from this program, as I'm interested in working in the States for a year or two and gain some international experiences.


 

Liping Deng
Local time: 03:43
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Maybe the best way is to earn a degree in localization or computer-related language area. Feb 13, 2012

Thor Truelson wrote:

It's true that most big hospitals in large cities have a corps of in-house interpreters. They may occasionally be called upon to translate, but are really more geared towards interpreting and may or may not be that involved in the translation aspect of the industry.

As a speaker of Chinese, I imagine your skills would be most called upon in a big city hospital on the west coast (LA, SF, Seattle). Although the directors of the in-house hospital programs (who don't really interpret but rather schedule/organize) sometimes speak some pretty far out stuff. A few years ago in Minneapolis, the director of one such program was an American lady who spoke Indonesian. Needless to say, she probably saw very little real language-related work, but instead ran the hospital interpreting program. So if you were the program administrator, you could speak anything, I suppose, and could potentially work anywhere.

That said, you would need a green card or citizenship to work in the US. Chances are you wouldn't get a green card just to come and speak a little Chinese in a hospital. There are tons of native speaking Chinese people with residency who work as medical interpreters and they in turn could potentially be in-house program directors too, if the price was right and they had the skills. But if the price was right, then perhaps another more skilled group would vie for the position. As it is, hospital administrative work is pretty well paid, but not something that catches the eye of people who want to make truck loads of money.

The pay for in-house hospital interpreters is also rather low in most cases, so unless you were the program director, you would probably make way more doing translation (not medical interpretation).

So in sum, if you lived in the US and hospital work was all you aspired to, then you could perhaps find a job. If you currently do not have US residency and do not foresee obtaining it (through marriage, the green card lottery, etc.), then this program is probably worthless.

My $.02.



Thank you too, Thor Truelson! Your answer is really helpful. I also notice that the location of this program is not so perfect. It's in North Carolina, which is a distant way from those big cities (NYC, Boston, LA etc). It may be hard to get internships of the "big city hospitals". If foreign people really want to get a full-time job in US, the best way may be seeking for computer-related language jobs like localization or computational linguistics. It shall be another area then.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:43
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Working after studies finished Feb 13, 2012

Liping Deng wrote:

What I'm concerned is whether I could obtain a job visa in the US after I graduated from this program, as I'm interested in working in the States for a year or two and gain some international experiences.


You will have an F1 visa while you are a student. You cannot work with that visa, except for some approved campus jobs (you need to check into the details on that). That means you have to support yourself using your previous savings, or scholarships. After graduation, in most cases you can get a year of OPT (Optional Practical Training), which is a different visa status and allows you to work in the field of your study for a year, doing an internship or a regular job. (Again, check the details.)
After that, in order to get a work visa (H1), your prospective employer has to sponsor you, in essence they have to request the visa for you. As far as I know, one of the requirements is that they have to prove that the position cannot be filled with a US resident or citizen. There are procedures for that, such as publicly advertising the job, and proving that you were the only applicant who met the requirements. The whole thing is not a simple process and many companies can't or won't go through with it. You would have to have some exceptional skills and/or exceptional connections to find a company that would sponsor your work visa.

If you consider the study program just to get a job after that, you may be disappointed at the end. If you want to do the study program, independent of whether you are getting a job in the US after that, than it is worth considering.

Here are some websites that you may find helpful for your research:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F_visa
http://www.h1base.com/visa/work/OPT%20to%20H1B%20Visa/ref/1264
http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=9a3d3dd87aa19110VgnVCM1000004718190aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:43
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
A full time translator position is the last thing you want to expect in the USA Feb 13, 2012

Some organizations look for people with bilingual skills and they can sponsor H1-B visa, which will naturally lead to an employment-based immgration status. However, there is hardly any employer who will hire a "translator", although they may ask you to do a lot of translation tasks.

Even if some employer does hire you as a translator, such a position may rule out the possibility for you to change to an immigration status, because a candidate for an employment-based immgration status must be a professional with at least a BA degree. A translator migh not qualify as a professional for immigration purpose.

Someone mentioned that there is a T and I Department in some large hospitals but this is not true in New York. As far as I know of, many hospitals use volunteers as translators. They don't have a translation department but they do have a Volunteer Department, which might manage hundreds or thousands of bilingual volunteers. And some of these vounteers are great interpreters, including those who used to be medical doctors in their home countries.


 


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