By: Nicole On: August 16, 2016 In: Interpreting, Medical Comments: 0

When you want an accurate translation, you need a human being, not just a computer.

But when technology and human translators work together, they can help solve key problems — especially in medical interpreting.

Translators can use technology effectively to make themselves more available to clients, especially those who live far away.

Telephonic and video services can bring translators to you — and that immediate access to interpreters can make all the difference in medical interpreting services.

Telephonic Solutions in Medical Interpreting

In a 2010 survey by Health Services Research about medical interpreting, only 33 percent of physicians for breast cancer patients said they had access to trained medical interpreters.

Of these physicians, many reported using telephonic interpreting services rather than or in addition to live interpreters. This technology increases physicians’ access to trained medical interpreters around the country, a major factor in successful medical interpreting.

Seventy-five percent of respondents in the study reported using untrained interpreters such as office staff members or friends and family of the patient. This method of medical interpreting, however, can raise major concerns about the accuracy of the information conveyed.

Not only do untrained medical interpreters often lack the medical training to express a thorough understanding of medical procedures, but any relation to the patient can introduce a bias in medical interpreting.

In efforts to protect the patient, relatives might editorialize or hide the truth where an impartial professional would serve as a conduit, leaving medical choices to the patient.

In the field of cancer care, the focus of this survey, these choices must be weighed carefully, with the patient understanding all possible treatment options. Telephonic interpreting services can help make quality medical interpreting available everywhere!

Interpreting by Video

Although telephonic solutions are transforming cancer patient care, the new popularity of video technology has made medical interpreting more accessible and affordable for deaf and hearing impaired patients as well.

Video Relay Service (VRS),  a system that links a computer with a videophone, allows deaf people to communicate remotely, both for everyday conversations and for use in medical interpreting.

Here’s how it works: a sign language interpreter receives a spoken message over the phone, and signs the message over a video screen. The deaf respondent signs a response, which the interpreter relays back to the original speaker. Another video window allows the two callers see each other.

Previous systems involved typing up long messages, which took time and created confusion. VRS makes communication almost instantaneous — which is great news for hospitals, doctors and patients looking for remote medical interpreting.

Trained interpreting professionals are the first and most important requirement to getting accurate and reliable medical interpreting. But telephonic and video technology can help those interpreters reach patients around the world at the push of a button.

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