The demand for medical interpreters has gone up with the increase of the international population in the country. With the assistance of medical interpreters, hospitals and clinicians are able to communicate with patients from across the world, which might not be possible otherwise. To keep pace with the increasing demand and to be a successful medical interpreter, here are 7 things you can do –
1. Sharpen your verbal communication skills
A medical interpreter must speak fluently in two languages at least, usually English and one other language. They must understand everything the patient says and should be able to translate the same to the medical practitioner accurately and correctly. Additionally, a medical interpreter needs to think on their feet to be able to express complex concepts and ideas precisely and quickly. If the medical interpreter knows a third language, it can often turn out to be an added advantage.
2. Be adept with medical terminology and colloquialisms.
It’s very important that a medical interpreter is proficient with all medical terms and colloquialisms used by patients. You need to understand precisely what the patient is saying when he’s describing the signs and symptoms of what he’s experiencing. It’s equally important to be able to communicate the same accurately to the medical practitioner who is attending the patient.
3. Prepare in advance
It’s useful for the medical interpreter and the clinician to connect briefly before meeting a patient to clarify the goals of the appointment. This will avoid any uncomfortable situation that might occur due to cultural differences. The prior preparation, also called pre-session, will also help, both, the medical interpreter and the clinician to better structure the patient interview.
4. Get certified
There are two agencies that certify interpreters who work in the healthcare field. Being certified gives you recognition and gives you a better chance to find good paying jobs. Health care providers are increasing validating the benefits of working with certified interpreters. So, there may be a time in the near future that it will be mandatory for an interpreter working in the medical field to be certified.
5. Be comfortable discussing sensitive issues
Medical interpreters must be comfortable discussing sensitive issues with patients and must communicate the same to the clinician. They must also be prepared to interpret during procedures that may not be for the faint of heart.
6. Put the patient at ease
A patient is already coping with a lot. His medical conditions, the anxiety of being in totally foreign environment, and the concerns about his own heath are pretty daunting. It’s important the medical interpreter puts the patient at ease and assures him that all his requirements will be taken care of in a professional and ethical manner.
7. Get additional training to assist the clinician
Although, passing a comprehensive exam can certify a medical interpreter, it is good to get additional medical training in specific medical topics and specialties. A medical interpreter should always be ready to assist a clinician in case of unforeseen medical emergencies. Interpreters are called to work in any type of medical setting and situation; therefore, being prepared to carry out these assignments is vital.