Why Medical Interpreting Is Crucial in Healthcare

It is critical for a doctor to be able to interact successfully with his or her patients in a healthcare setting to help with language barriers. It is quite difficult for a doctor to deliver the best possible care when a patient’s English skills are weak. Medical interpreting can assist in opening channels of communication and ensuring that patients receive the treatment to which they are entitled.  

Medical interpreters are educated in medical terminology, medical systems, and cultural understanding. Interpreters are an important element of the healthcare community. Professional interpreters, like health care practitioners, offer crucial linguistic access that saves lives and preserves the health and well-being of patients. 

What do Medical Interpreters Do

The job of a medical interpreter is to translate and interpret information for the medical staff and the patient so that physicians and nurses may correctly handle the patient’s symptoms, concerns, and inquiries. Professional medical interpreters are aware of their function in the healthcare system, are well-versed in medical jargon, and recognize the delicate balance that must be maintained while translating between medical personnel and patients. The capacity to build an understandable communication bridge between a health care practitioner and a patient who does not speak the same language is their primary obligation and the heart of the service they give.

Why Medical Interpretation is so Important

Medical interpreting is one of the most delicate sectors within the translation profession to help with language barriers. In contrast to other types of translation and interpretation, healthcare has a zero-tolerance policy for errors.

This is because mistranslation might have a negative impact on someone’s health or well-being. It might lead to procedures such as surgery or the prescription of strong drugs, both of which carry the risk of major side effects. As a result, it is apparent that it is an activity that requires highly skilled individuals to carry out with great care in order to assure the quality of their job.

Better Patient Experience 

Imagine going to the doctor and not being able to explain what the problem is. Simply said, the patient’s subjective and objective descriptions of their symptoms are crucial in healthcare. Furthermore, care and therapy are contingent on patients’ ability to comprehend, trust, and follow doctors’ recommendations. In reality, non-native English speakers in the United States frequently express dissatisfaction with medical care and are at greater risk of medical mistakes than native English speakers.  The higher the amount of contentment, the more the patient understands and appreciates. Because they do not understand the technique, experience, care, or patient satisfaction is lower than that of English speakers.

Family Members 

Regrettably, the great majority of healthcare institutions lack adequate medical interpreting services for ​​language barriers. People who assist non-native speakers are usually found “at random.” They are not qualified medical interpreters, but rather family members or friends who speak both languages. Involving family members in medical interpreting has a number of drawbacks, including invading the patient’s privacy and failing to adequately convey what the patient stated due to embarrassment on the side of the patient or the family member. 

Staff and doctors may believe that having a patient’s visitor translate is convenient since they appear to speak English effectively, however, family members may lack objectivity and cause extra issues. The safest and most effective choice for people who want interpretation services is to hire a professional, competent medical interpreter. Our medical interpreters at Interpretation Services are held to a high level in order to provide the best possible patient care.

Accurate Communication

Patients with anxiety or suffering, as well as those with difficult diagnoses or treatments, are frequently required to make critical decisions. Using an expert medical interpreter to communicate with patients avoids any emotional bias or added family conflict while also ensuring that the proper information is given. Patients are more confident in the level of treatment they are receiving when such language barriers are removed.

Since there will always be someone present who understands what is being said between patient and medical professional no matter when it happens, using medical interpreting to communicate with non-English speaking patients allows providers to have another set of eyes. 

This can help providers feel more secure that everyone is getting the information they need for excellent health outcomes, even if they have to see them after hours if required.


Medical interpreting ensures that your patients’ information is correct and that communication runs smoothly. Because you won’t have to make adjustments for false information, you’ll be more efficient in all parts of treatment, from intake to follow-up consultations.

Having a professional medical interpreter in your hospital, doctor’s office, or healthcare clinic will also help you eliminate language barriers and get through your day faster. An interpreter can be on-site (or available by phone) 24/7, but a family member may not be present for every appointment.

Furthermore, if you’ve been utilizing nurses or other staff as interpreters, medical interpreting will free them up to accomplish the duties for which they were originally educated.

Comply with Laws and Regulations

In many states, public hospitals and medical practitioners are required to provide patient interpretation services. Clinics and hospitals that develop connections with medical interpreting service providers ahead of time are better able to satisfy state compliance standards while also having rapid and efficient access to services when they are needed.

Save Lives

Any doctor, nurse, or another individual who has worked in the medical field for a long time understands the need for clarity and knowledge while diagnosing and assisting patients. There are several stories of tragic hospital trips in which critical illnesses were not appropriately treated because medical workers and patients couldn’t communicate. You are exhibiting the requisite knowledge and expertise to translate properly for patients as a bearer of a medical interpreter certificate. 

Providers Have a Second Pair of Eyes

Having a medical interpreter for non-English speaking patients allows providers to have an extra set of eyes in the event that a patient has any questions or concerns about their care plans, medications, or services available at the facility. There will always be someone present who understands what is being said between the patient and the medical professional, regardless of when it occurs.

This can help providers feel more secure that everyone is getting the information they need for excellent health outcomes, even if they have to see them after hours if required.

Medical Interpreting Solutions: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Video Interpretation:

The most recent breakthrough in medical interpreting technology is video remote interpretation services. It allows both parties to observe the interpreter on their computers through a live video connection. People gain from seeing the interpreter while speaking since it allows them to both translate and listen to their lips at the same time. 

Similarly, the medical interpreter may notice the client’s facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language, providing insight into how the consumer is experiencing. VRI enables the interpreter to deal with some cultural sensitivities while also lowering the risk of misinterpretation. 

Over-the-Phone Interpreting:

Phone interpretations work in a similar way as video remote interpretations do. The distinction is that you cannot see the medical interpreter during the call. After a person speaks, you’ll just hear their voice provide an interpretation. The most significant benefit of this service is that it allows everyone to use phones from anywhere. At any moment, you may use the services of a certified interpreter in any language. 

For example, if you don’t have enough time during regular office hours to organize patient appointments with a medical interpreter, you might want to consider employing an over-the-phone interpretation service. This would allow people to phone in without having to make an appointment ahead of time. 

Ready to Get Started?

Medical interpreting is critical and may help increase communication with patients. By removing language barriers, you can improve both patients’ and providers’ overall happiness by making it simpler for everyone involved to comprehend each other without the presence of any miscommunication. 

When it comes to interpretation, experience is everything. Interpretation Services elevate the interpretation experience with our advanced solutions, technology, network, and expertise. If you’re looking for a medical interpreter contact us to learn more. 

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