Certified Medical Interpreters
The importance of certified medical interpreters and translators is increasing as the world becomes increasingly interconnected. People from different parts of the world seek medical services in best healthcare institutions across different parts of the world. Globalization is opening up the world to the possibilities of new technologies and advanced healthcare. This development is bringing people of different cultural and linguistic background together in a medical or healthcare environment. Patients’ and doctors’ cultural backgrounds are more diversified than ever. Doctors and other healthcare professional’s cultural and linguistic backgrounds are also becoming increasingly diversified as globalization opens up new opportunities for these professionals to work in diverse environments outside their countries of origin. All these factors underscore the importance of highly qualified and certified medical interpreters.
Healthcare interpreters now have more role to play in uniting the patients and healthcare givers so that the right information can be deduced from the patient’s or their relatives’ communication.
Dealing with patients from diverse linguistic or cultural backgrounds is not easy. Highly skilled and competent healthcare interpreters are becoming indispensable in clinics and hospitals. Healthcare organizations are now increasingly employing the use of certified medical interpreters. There are many benefits of using certified medical interpreters, and it ranges from cost control, better risk management strategies, increased patient satisfaction, and compliance with medical regulations (Bryan, 2009). Medical interpretation can happen in different forms or through different channels. It can either happen over the phone, via remote video interpreting or in person. In-person interpretation is the most effective method since it allows interpreters to observe non-verbal cues and other forms of body language that are crucial in decoding messages or deciphering spoken language.
Certified medical interpreters are professionals who have undergone proper training in linguistics and ethics training offered by an accredited certification body. Interpreters are trained in various issues touching on communication in healthcare and medical terminologies. This will aid these professionals in understanding and navigating complex jargons associated with medicine and healthcare field. Use of certified medical interpreters improves the medical outcomes of patients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Research indicates that inadequate or improper medical interpretation leads to extended inpatient stays for patients with Limited English Proficiency. In some instances, incorrect interpretation has led to adverse physical outcomes for patients as a result of misdiagnosis and consequent administering of wrong drugs or medicinal intervention (Kim, 2003).
Use of certified medical interpreters creates an increased understanding and a better working environment in the medical community. Interpreters ensure effective communication which goes a long way in creating trust and building confidence amongst doctors and other health caregivers. Effective communication is enhanced between the patient and nurses, doctors or pharmacist and this can mean improved healthcare services being given to the patient. Effective communication in an emergency is a matter that can save lives and bring joy to the families and friends of the patient and enhance career satisfaction among the involved healthcare professionals.
Language access programs in hospitals help hospitals relate better to LEP patients. Certified interpreters cement this relationship by expanding the understanding between caregivers and patients.
In cases where the patients do not speak, interpreters engage with their families and get an in-depth description of the patient’s medical history and how they have responded to various previous treatments. This can king interaction, and enhanced understanding can give doctors more medical insights about the patient’s conditions and help them align their treatments or diagnostic procedures with the possible medical condition or situation. In situations where there has been misunderstanding, doctors or healthcare givers have used more medical resources in treating the patient not only leading to overtreatment but endangering the life of the patient. Improper communication as a result of the lack of certified medical interpreters has often caused a lot of medical errors that negatively impact the health of the patients. Use of interpreters reduce not only medical errors but also enhances proper diagnostic interventions and consequent correct matching of the medical intervention and the medical problem. Certified interpreters understand the language dynamics and cultural factors that influence effective communication with LEP patients and other patients with communication or language problems. This minimizes safety events in hospitals and medical institutions.
Certified medical interpreters have a network of professionals within their field and access to educational resources. This can help them improve their skills and match their professional obligations with the changing nature of their day to day work. Being a medical interpreter is more than just translating messages from one language to the other. It’s a dynamic profession that requires a deep understanding of the patient’s educational and cultural barriers to effective communication. In some instances, it requires reading beyond words and associating particular emotions to certain messages or meanings. Interpreters play an essential role in educating and empowering patients to communicate better hence helping them access quality and timely medical care. Professional or certified medical interpreters apply specific skills and expertise in every assignment they undertake. They play the role of both cultural and linguistic mediators. The have adequate professional skills to handle patient’s families and or patient’s themselves in a manner that will make them open up about the circumstances that led to the ailment or provide broad and comprehensive details about their medical condition (Waring, 2005).
Certified medical interpreters are language professionals with a better understating of the medical field. They also have bilingual or multilingual skills coupled with an expanded understanding of cultural norms affecting communication.
As far as speaking the same language as the patient is essential, understanding the patient’s dialect is critical. Other important factors that determine successful or effective interpretation to include gender and grooming of the interpreter. A pregnant LEP patient will be more open to communicating if the interpreter is a female as compared to a male. Wearing distracting clothes during interpretation or engaging in distractive activities affects the quality of messages being shared. It also helps to be neutral as an interpreter. All these skills are possessed by certified medical interpreters whose contributions are revolutionizing medical care in the era of increased diversity.