What does a medical interpreter do?

noviembre 20th, 2018 | Posted by admin in Blog - (Comentarios desactivados)

The medical interpreter plays a very important role, providing essential support in the healthcare industry. Few things are as critical as one’s wellbeing. Contextualized translation goes beyond words alone in order to also understand the emotional impact a medical situation can have on a person’s life.

At SeproTec, we have extensive experience with in-person interpretation for both public and private institutions.  In this article, we discuss the importance of this profession in the healthcare industry.

The importance of medical interpreters in the healthcare industry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Communication Assistance for Foreign Patients

Often, the medical interpreter acts as a kind of mediator between doctor and patient. In this regard, they have an ethical responsibility to faithfully transmit a message to the patient regarding the observations made by the specialist, and vice versa. In the context of the healthcare industry, providing excellent interpreting is paramount/invaluable/of the utmost importance.

At the same time, this is one of the most private aspects of a person’s life. Issues relating to a person’s clinical history are very private and intimate matters. Part of the ethical code of an interpreter is respect for the privacy of every person. In some cases, they even sign confidentiality agreements.

At all times, communication is an especially important priority. When a patient doesn’t speak the same language as their doctor, they feel disoriented and uneasy. An interpreter specialized in this field provides emotional closeness for these patients, so that they feel more secure because they understand what is happening, thanks to the interpretation. The patient receives answers to all their questions.

This is very human work, and so the interpreter must be introspective in order to be truly involved in the case, while also controlling their emotions and preventing each situation from affecting them personally. Maintaining objectivity is probably one of the most complicated aspects of this profession.

In a large majority of cases, medical interpretation is provided for patients who have a very different culture from our own. As such, the interpreter must have an understanding of both cultures that goes beyond the language itself.  Hesitance about being treated by someone of the opposite sex or undergoing certain medical tests and formality of treatment are just some of the aspects which the interpreter must consider in order to do their job well.

It is also important that medical interpreters be familiar with the functioning of the national health system of the country where they practice, as well as the documentation that is regularly used in this industry.

The work of the interpreter is made even more complex by the difficulty of medical language, which includes technical concepts and specific terminology. Just as a doctor may see their work as a personal calling, interpreters working in this field often feel the same. This personal assistance is as valuable as medicine itself.

Interpretation in Service of Medicine

The interpreting modalities most often used include bilateral interpreting, liaison interpreting, and sight translation of documents, records, prescriptions, etc.

This assistance can be provided in person. However, thanks to the power of new communications tools and technology, interpreting can also be carried out remotely by video call or telephone.

The work of a medical interpreter is essential to both doctors and patients.

The work of interpreters is increasingly valuable and in ever greater demand. It can be found in many areas of life: from concerts, congresses, exhibitions, and guided tours to the rebroadcast of basketball games in another language, and behind the scenes there is always a professional interpreter to ensure you do not miss one detail of what is happening.

Using the services of an interpreter is much more common than you would imagine. Not only are their services required for conferences attended by a large number of people who do not share a common language, they are even requested for civil marriage ceremonies.

Interpreting Services

Types of meetings and events at which interpreting services tend to be used

There are currently many types of events that make use of interpreting, including the following:

Meetings with a large number of attendees These tend to be large congresses dealing with scientific or technical information, with large audiences, that last several days, and have a varied program. Talks and discussions are organized using all types of communication, usually with a very dense content.

Seminars. These are very technical meetings that focus on one specific topic and in which, even if they have a very simple structure, a wide variety of information can be exchanged in the discussions.

International Organizations Meetings organized by work groups or committees, in which there tends to be a clear but lengthy agenda, normally accompanied by documents or slide presentations. After a short introduction, most of the time is spent on discussion, comments and clarification of the topic in question.

Political debates. These are held in the parliaments of countries or regions with more than one official language, such as the EU headquarters in Brussels. They tend to be characterized by a need to know the political ideology, which has considerable legal and procedural content.

Radio and television: Discussions or interviews broadcast on the TV or radio with the participation of foreign celebrities. Often, these same communications media request interpreting services for complete speeches or fragments of speeches to be used in news programs. The content to be interpreted centers around the opinions of the interviewees.

Negotiations. The number of participants is limited and they should know how far they are prepared to go. Everyone must understand the position of the two sides, there are many figures and a lot of terminology, depending on the area of the negotiations. They can be interrupted by breaks for consultation.

Visits or official events. These tend to be short, formal meetings involving ministers, heads of states, advisers, ambassadors, etc. and participants from other countries. At official meetings, and at some meals, interpreters tend to be requested for the conversations that take place between two participants and, obviously, for the official statements.

Press conferences. In this case, the interpreter acts as a bridge between the journalists who ask the questions and the person answering them. The latter can be a sportsperson, a politician, an artist, etc. Normally, these are high-profile public figures.

Official dinners. At this type of event, all the different modes of interpreting are used: from simultaneous interpreting with technical equipment on occasions, consecutive interpreting for official statements or speeches from the podium, to liaison interpreting between two people at the same table. These events are characterized by their official register, the use of quotations, and even at times a humorous style.

Technical courses. These are meetings at which the flow of information is generally one-directional and very technical, so that it is very important to prepare beforehand.

Public Services. From statements at a police station to interpreting entire trials, civil marriages, to helping patients or the emergency services, such as 911. The content is very varied so it is important for the interpreter to have some knowledge of the law or current legislation, be up-to-date on the terminology used, and have good self-control and not get stressed out.

 

Information is power

When interpreting, whether at a conference or for public services, it is necessary to keep in mind the technical and technological aspects as well as the language-related ones. The more information given to the interpreter, the better the job will be done. What information is useful to an interpreter? In addition to the number of languages and booths, the name of the colleague the booth is to be shared with for simultaneous interpreting and the agenda for the meeting, the following information should be provided:

Format of the meeting in which the interpreter will be involved. Although interpreters are very flexible, if they know the dynamics of the event in advance, they will be able to adapt their communication style to the meeting more easily. This dynamic determines the amount of preparation, the tone, and the register used by the interpreter.

Mode of interpreting. The format of the meeting tends to decide the mode of interpreting that will be used. Each mode has its own difficulties and much of the success of a session lies in choosing the right interpreter for the mode being employed.

Nature of the event. A paper on a medical discovery is not the same as an international sales meeting or a civil marriage ceremony. Each has its own special characteristics and involves different up-front preparation.

Technological aspects to be taken into account. It is a wise decision to introduce the interpreter to the technological aids that will be used. The booth or infoport, the types of microphones available, the videoconferencing software, etc.

Topic to be dealt with and reference material. Choosing the interpreter according to the topic to be dealt with is also important as there are some very technical subjects for which not all professionals are trained. Being prepared is an essential part of the job of interpreting. A copy of the presentations, reference material from the speakers; all this information is useful. With it, the interpreter can document and review the terminology needed for the project.

 

The best professional interpreters

A knowledge of general culture, the ability to concentrate, resistance to stress, and mental agility are some of the abilities of good interpreters, as well as an excellent knowledge of their working languages.

At SeproTec we have the best professionals, so that your meeting can be a success. We guarantee the professionalism and flexibility of the work done. With our exceptional track record in the translation and interpreting sector, and a daily average of 450 interpreting sessions, we offer high-quality work in a wide variety of languages, as well as the utmost reliability and service to our clients.