Instruments for medical interpretation services

Three Rules for Working with Medical Interpretation Services

In Blog by Rafael MorelLeave a Comment

Any medical facility needs to have medical interpretation services for those patients who do not speak the native language.  In some states this is not only a courtesy, but a requirement as there are immigrants and visitors from other countries who may need medical care.  There are certain rules that are always followed by medical interpreter services and it is important than all medical facilities understand them.  It is important that you and your employees are prepared when dealing with any type of translation service for those times when it is needed.  Make sure that you have policies in place and that your employees are trained on dealing with an interpreter when giving care to non native speaking patients.  Below are three rules for working with medical interpretation services.

Code of Conduct

There is a specific code of conduct that medical interpreters must follow for the professionalism of the trade.  It is important that your employees familiarize themselves with both the National Code of Ethics and the National Standards of Practice for Interpreters of Healthcare.  This will allow them to understand what the interpreters can and cannot do in full.  A brief summary states that they interpreters must avoid personal involvement no matter what the diagnosis.  They must remain neutral when interpreting and must never give their own personal opinion of any treatment method that the physician and medical staff has offered the patient.  They must also keep all information completely confidential and may not call, harass or abuse any patient after the interpretation services have been completed.

The Difference Between Medical Translation and Medical Interpretation

There is a huge difference between medical translation services and medical interpretation services.  When you place the phone call for the service you want, it is vital that you understand this difference for your patient’s benefit.  Medical translation service is translation of written text and documents and has nothing to do with the patients.  You’d use this service if a patient’s primary care physician is from another country and the medical records need translation.  Medical interpretation is when you have an interpreter on the phone who is offering translation directly to the patient so they can understand the diagnosis and treatment offered by the medical staff.  If you ask for translation services, your patient will not have a live interpreter on the phone which they need.

It’s Not Just About Language

When you are asking for interpretation services, you are not only being offered word for word interpretation but the translators also understand the cultural differences.  It is well known that language and culture go hand in hand.  Your interpreter will also understand this and can help with any cultural issues you, your staff or your patient may be experiencing.  This also includes interpreting the meaning that is being conveyed rather than a word for word translation that can lose its impact with the patient.

If you are seeking medical interpretation services, make sure that your interpreter understands and follows all the rules that are in place.

Leave a Comment