Having an experienced interpreter in a medical session is not only about fulfilling the legal requirement. Well-trained medical interpreters can do far better in the following aspects than inexperienced interpreters, even including those who are fluent in both languages.
Consecutive interpreting vs. simultaneous interpreting
In a medical setting, interpreting simultaneously is usually not a good choice. In order to keep pace with the healthcare providers, the interpreters often need to summarize what has been told, which usually leads to the loss of important message from the providers.
On the other hand, in consecutive interpreting, the interpreters would first listen to the healthcare providers speaking, then comprehend what has been told, and finally convey everything to the patients. The providers would pause when the interpreters communicate with the patients. As a result, the important detail would not be missing and the patients can get all they need to know from the providers.
The mode of interpreting can be crucial, as intactness of the message is always crucial and good medical interpreters should ensure 100% of the message of the providers is told to the patients.
Even though an interpreter may have high fluency in both languages, the lack of medical training and understanding of medical terminology can still be harmful to a medical session. When they fail to understand medical terms told by the healthcare providers, some interpreters may try to make up words to replace those terms they don’t understand. This can cause much confusion and be quite destructive for the conversation. Unfortunately, this is a quite common mistake made by inexperienced medical interpreters.
First person vs. third person
An inexperienced interpreter would often speak in the third person. Although this usually wouldn’t cause severe misunderstanding and confusion, it can make the conversation unnecessarily longer. A well-trained medical interpreter speaks in the first person, making the conversation concise and straightforward.
Do more than interpreting
Besides interpreting for the patients, well-trained interpreters are ready to assist the patients whenever during a medical session. At the time the patient needs to fill out medical paperwork, an experienced interpreter would circle the confusing words so they may ask the healthcare provider for clarification. The goal of a good medical interpreter is not merely making sure there’s no mistake in interpretation, but ensuring that the whole medical session is clear and the patients wouldn’t get anxious in the session.
Having an experienced interpreter in a medical session is not only about fulfilling the legal requirement. Experienced interpreters know how to interpret properly and avoid unnecessary anxiety and tension for the patients. At Alliance Business Solutions, our experienced and professional medical interpreters are always ready to help.