Working with Interpreters
INTERPRETATION- ISSUES AND STRATEGIES:
- Professional interpretation provides effective communication and a climate of respect.
- Even patients who seem to be able to communicate in Basic English may have limited understanding of medical terminology. Technical language and other aspects of health care exacerbate non-fluency.
- Patients must fully understand their treatment plans if they are to be active and compliant participants in their care.
- While family members and friends are often the most commonly available interpreters, the interpersonal dynamics of these relationships can influence the communication.
- Confidentiality also must be addressed. Interpreters understand their role- that they are gaining access to personal health information that must be protected.
WORKING EFFECTIVELY WITH INTERPRETERS:
- The interpreter's time is as important as your own.
- Give the information to the interpreter in short sentences. Interpreters have to remember, and then translate, everything that they hear- short sentences reduce the risk of error or omissions.
- Sometimes there is no direct translation. The interpreter may need extra time or additional direction to convey your words correctly.
- Write down key points, directions and any other important information that can be easily confused or forgotten
- Consider holding a debriefing session with the interpreter to investigate if the interpreter observed anything you should know about. They can give you clues on understanding non-verbal communication or cultural differences.