Communication assistance for foreign patients
Medical interpreters often act as a kind of mediator between doctor and patient. In this sense, they have an ethical responsibility to faithfully convey a message to the patient about the observations made by the specialist, and vice versa. In the context of the healthcare industry, providing excellent interpretation is paramount and of utmost importance.
At the same time, being a certified medical interpreter plays an important rol in hospitals. Issues related to a person’s medical history are very private and intimate matters. Part of a medical interpreter’s code of ethics is respect for the privacy of the individual. In some cases, they even sign confidentiality agreements.
At all times, communication is a particularly important priority. When a patient does not speak the same language as his or her doctor, he or she feels disoriented and uncomfortable. Medical interpreters specialised in this field provide emotional closeness to these patients, so that they feel more secure because they understand what is happening, thanks to medical interpreting. The patient gets answers to all their questions.
It is a very human job, so the certified medical interpreter must be introspective in order to be really involved in the case, also controlling his emotions and avoiding being personally affected by each situation. Maintaining objectivity is probably one of the most difficult aspects of this profession.
In the vast majority of cases, medical interpreting is provided to patients who have a culture very different from our own. As such, the interpreter must have an understanding of both cultures that goes beyond the language itself. Doubts about being treated by someone of the opposite sex or undergoing certain medical tests and the formality of the treatment are just some of the aspects that the interpreter must consider in order to do the job well.
It is also important for medical interpreters to be familiar with the workings of the national health system in the country where they work, as well as with the documentation commonly used in this industry.
The interpreter’s work is made even more complex by the difficulty of medical language, which includes technical concepts and specific terminology. Just as a doctor may see his or her work as a personal vocation, interpreters working in this field often feel the same way. This personal assistance is as valuable as medicine itself.