Healthcare Language Interpretation
Posted on March 26, 2013 by Chris
Healthcare is no perfect beast. In fact, many would argue that it could be improved in virtually every country around the globe. At Network Languages, we are struck by the impact that language barriers have on the quality and speed of care, making language interpretation essential in emergency and critical care facilities.
Picture it: you’re an expat who is not yet skilled in your new country’s native language. You arrive at the hospital with acute pain. A few members of the hospital’s staff speak broken English, but not enough for proper triage. You are put to the back of the line with what is assumed to be indigestion (at least that’s what you’ve gathered). You submit, feeling that contesting the decision would only add to the confusion.
Or, picture this: you’re an emergency medical professional. Your patient does not speak your language and available staff is sparse due to an influx of patients. Using hand gestures, you’re able to identify where the patient feels pain, but the type of pain, the severity, and the accompanying symptoms are still a mystery. The patient’s condition seems to be deteriorating, and you must now spend time finding someone who speaks what you think might be German.
Around the world, language interpretation in medical facilities is becoming more commonplace. This sounds promising – and it is – but we should not forget the growing number of language barriers.
In The United States alone, 21% of the population speaks a language other than English in their homes, while 9% of the population either knows little or no English. In the state of New Jersey alone, more than 100 languages are spoken, according to the New Jersey Hospital Association.
There are a number of laws in place around the world that require hospitals to provide language interpretation services for non-native-language-speaking patients. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. A language interpretation specialist can be called in (or kept on staff) to interpret. A conference call may be initiated among the doctor, the patient, and the language interpreter. Video conferencing is also an option.
Additionally, because global travel and education have made worldwide education and employment possible, many medical facilities employ very competent, yet non-native-speaking, medical professionals. This creates additional language barriers.
Language interpretation in a medical scenario – particularly one that is of a critical nature – can draw the line between life and death (as well as between comfort and pain and full recovery and lasting adverse effects).
Network Languages maintains access to more than 12,000 language translators and language interpretation experts. Our language interpretation services are flexible, to accommodate your needs. We are able to set up on-call services and in-house staffers, as well as arrange telephone and video language interpretation services.
Call Network Languages at 01344 870700 or email us with your medical language interpretation needs today. We’ll meet your immediate needs or help you to set up a plan that will usher your medical facility into the future of language interpretation…and exceptional patient care.