A Rising Need for Medical Interpreters

The LA Times is picking up on an idea that Affordable Language Services have been keen on for while now: medical interpreters can make a big difference in the care a patient receives!


Image Courtesy: Mel Melcon, LA Times

Understanding what your doctor is saying can be difficult enough in your native language… but imagine being dropped in another country where you don’t speak the language, and then trying to work your way through the medical jargon. That’s downright scary.

Beyond giving a person the added comfort of tackling health problems in their native language, it’s also a patient’s legal right to have a medical interpreter on hand if they speak limited English.

This right can be fulfilled by the presence of a bilingual family member or hospital employee, but studies show it’s best to have a certified medical interpreter on hand when it comes down to important decisions. A family member might not understand the medical terminology themself, while a hospital staffer might speak the language but not understand the culture that backs it up.

Certified medical interpreters are trained in the language, cultural considerations, medical terminology, and ethical issues, like patient privacy laws.

That’s why we offer a program called Bridging the Gap. It helps interpreters get one step closer to getting licensed to work in the medical field, and allows individuals already working as medical translators an opportunity to hone their skills. The next session of the 40 hour class is coming up; it runs two consecutive weekends– January 21-23 and 28-30, 2011.

Check out the full article on the LA Times’ site here.

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