Interpreting provides a necessary service in today’s culturally intertwined world by connecting people who might otherwise be unable to do so. While many people recognize the need to bridge the communication barrier, many family members of those who cannot communicate decide that providing the interpretation themselves is sufficient in bridging the communication barrier. As convenient as this may be, interpreting for a loved one can strain relationships and can be potentially life threatening. Therefore, providing certified, professional interpreters that are accurate and reliable is a necessity to ensure quality.
It might seem simple enough to help a sick friend out by interpreting for a doctor’s visit but it could easily turn into an uncomfortable or awkward situation. Putting the pressure on a family member to correctly interpret the given information while also remaining neutral may be unfair for the doctor as well as the interpreter friend chosen. If sensitive information is discussed, a point of stress can be placed on their relationship. With these situations, the interpreter friend or family member as well as the patient could potentially leave out important information to save face or maintain privacy.
In a medical setting, the patient’s health could be put at risk if they rely on someone who doesn’t know the correct vocabulary to interpret for the doctor and patient. Medical terms are notoriously difficult and intricate to interpret while providing a high degree of risk for the client who needs a flawless understanding of what is being said. Without that understanding, the client’s health and wellbeing could be at risk. In extreme situations, it could even be life-threatening.
While it may seem convenient and acceptable to use a family member there’s still much room for error. Fortunately, most large medical facilities provide third party interpreters, often through an interpreting agency such as LTC, but this is not always the case. LTC provides only the highest quality interpreters practiced in these high-risk areas and certified to do so. Taking advantage of qualified, knowledgeable interpreters not only guarantees privacy, it also ensures that the communication provided is accurate.
-Jessica Fisher, Interpreting Scheduling Supervisor