Skip to main content

Over this last year especially, we have seen our first responders handling monumental tasks. Nurses, doctors, EMTs and anyone on the front lines of the pandemic have had to deal with more people in crisis than ever before.

Firemen, police, and many other first responders also face difficult events daily and find themselves dealing with people who are injured, sick, in an accident or in other life-threatening situations. That alone is stressful enough. When language barriers become an issue on top of that stress, it makes the job a lot tougher.

Interpretation and Translation in the Medical Field:

In the medical field, the need for language interpretation and translation is a critical part of dealing with patients. Planning in advance for the need to translate documents for a patient is key and must be considered long before the patient in need of care is face-to-face with the doctor or practitioner.

Many health professionals do not have professional resources to help them navigate the waters of the multilingual healthcare patients in the system who will soon need their care. They find themselves searching for someone to translate or interpret the conversation between caregiver and patient during what can often be a crisis. Miscommunication can cause any number of mishaps. Communication is difficult enough when facing an emergency where excitement and nerves are high. Communicating when frightened or overwhelmed makes things more complex when adding language issues into the mix.

When a health care provider does not speak the same language as those being treated, relationships can quickly become strained, important information can be lost and gestures or turns of phrase can be misinterpreted. These lapses in communication can change the course of someone’s life.

The number of languages spoken in the U.S. make this more complex. The Census bureau reports that over 350 languages are spoken in the United States. In the New York City metro area over a third of the population speaks a language other than English including around 200 different languages. Interpreters are often needed to assist first responders when interacting with these many and varied languages.

How Does Translation Play a Part?

Translations can be created between the written, audio or spoken forms of two languages, e.g., Spanish to English. Working with a professional translator allows for time and precision. Research can be done to assure accuracy in phrasing and terminology.

Translation by computer or software can be fairly accurate, but not as precise as when a human is involved in the process.  Skilled interpreters and translators can be key to effective communication in healthcare. Most of these professionals are highly educated and speak and write in two or more languages. It requires more skill than simply being conversationally fluent in more than one language. Legal issues can arise when language is not properly translated regarding the sensitive nature of a person’s health. Medical documents must be carefully scrutinized when being translated, thus hiring a trained professional is the best path when translating health records.

At Metafraze, we know the value of professional translation and know it is especially important when working with our clients in the healthcare field and our first responders. Offering the best, most accurate translation is what we always strive for.

If you or someone you know is in the medical profession and needs to consider the languages of the patients they care for and how to bridge the gaps from one language to another, we would love to talk with them.

Please contact us and make an appointment to discuss what needs you may have, what languages your patients or clients speak, and how we can help you forge better relationships with them through communication in their native language.

Leave a Reply