When an interpreter arrives at an appointment and interprets, that is the visible part of the process. However, the work of the interpreter starts before the appointment, and ends after the appointment.

How can a requester of interpreter services work with an interpreter and ensure the best possible result?

How can someone who works with an interpreter evaluate the work an interpreter does?

This presentation attempts to answer some of those questions. Interpreters trained through the Gaucha Translations training program are well-equipped to meet these challenges.

Some issues brought up in this presentation are:

  • Just as doctors need to check the patient chart before an appointment, interpreters need to think about the terminology of an appointment. A brain surgery appointment isn’t the same as an ingrown toenail surgery. Often, we aren’t given any information at all! Some information would help interpreters provide a better service. Just five minutes to read an article from the Merck Manual for Home Health in the appropriate language…
  • Interpreters need to know what time the appointment starts, and what kind of help the office needs before the appointment. Assistance with forms before the appointment is on the clock. It is a service provided by the interpreter.
  • When extra services are requested, such as reminder calls, and the patient is a child, these details should be specified. It is very awkward to call the home and hear that the patient can’t answer the phone…
  • Patient intake forms are legal documents, and therefore patients should fill out the forms as much as possible. Interpreters can provide a quick translation next to the patient’s writing. By being a silent procedure, this protects the patient’s privacy (HIPAA) and gives the doctor a more faithful record of the patient’s complaint. See more details in this post.

This presentation was very interesting to the doctors and supervisors of bilingual staff, and I expect it to be useful to others.

Partnering with interpreters for better communication

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