The medical interpreter is vital for doctors.

Hospitals, care centres and GP surgeries: places where interpreting is of vital importance. These might not be the first places that come to mind when you think about an interpreter’s work, but research has shown that using an interpreter precisely in these situations is of great importance.

Without a professional interpreter, the communication between a doctor and a foreign patients can sometimes be a difficult process. A doctor is quickly reduced to using hand and foot gestures, Google Translate, or a family member who does speak both languages. But these options are not an effective alternative; doctors have stated that this is detrimental to the quality of care. One of the reasons for this is that because the doctor’s questions are poorly translated or sometimes not translated at all, a great deal of essential information is lost.

Guaranteeing quality

Doctors have stated that language barriers can be more easily overcome if professional interpreters are used. In fact, they indicated that an interpreter makes healthcare accessible and is essential for the quality of care. According to doctors, using an interpreter actually leads to better care, higher rates of patient satisfaction, and reduced consumption of medical resources. Doctors also save on expenses, because they can more quickly make a diagnosis and choose the correct treatment. The costs of using an interpreter are negligible when compared to the costs associated with the situations described above.

Other factors that play a role included cultural differences that can emerge during a consult, which sometimes go unnoticed. An interpreter can actively act as an intermediary in such situations. An interpreter can choose certain words so that these are presented in the right context and are better understood. This makes the interpreter important to both the doctor and the patient. The patient is given the correct information in a way he or she can understand and is able to communicate whatever is on his or her mind. There’s a good reason why the Medical Treatment Contracts Act states that communication with patients with a different language background must be conducted in a way the patient can understand, and the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights believes that using an interpreter is a necessary condition for the fulfilment of the right to health.

Medical interpreting is a speciality

It’s sensible and worth recommending using a professional interpreter for important medical consults. Medical interpreting is a challenging speciality due to the complex terminology and use of Latin words. Specialised medical interpreters have a good command of the professional jargon and can be used in complex situations. Contact HearHear to meet all your professional medical interpreter needs.