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Most countries admit that they don’t offer enough back up to those people in their countries who don’t speak the country’s native language well. Situations arise when a person who doesn’t have full command of their host country’s language falls sick. When this happens, medical staff will want to ask a lot of questions when determining the possible source of the sickness. This is to ensure that the right diagnosis is established. Often a healthcare interpreter is not available to interpret so a family member takes on the role.

If at all possible a family member who is only semi-fluent in the host country’s language shouldn’t take over this role because:

1. They are not experienced with translating medical terminology and the only suitable person is a medical interpreter who has some qualifications to prove his or her capabilities in understanding medical terms as well as relating these using the right type of language to the recipient.

2. Members of a family tend to become more disturbed if they are told facts about a medical issue by another family member. Sometimes straight talk is required and this is something a paid medical interpreter can do without becoming too emotionally involved.

3. Honesty existing between a patient and doctor is vital when the doctor has to choose the right treatment. However, some cultures find it hard to express themselves when discussing sensitive issues. However, medical interpreters who are fully conversant with the culture will know how to put across medical issues in a sensitive but correct way.

It’s crucial to use healthcare interpreters from reputable medical interpreting services who are better qualified to know what language to use which eases the burden for family members and helps to keep their relationships intact.

The use of interpreters in healthcare is extremely important as the life and well-being of a patient could be at risk. It’s vital an accurate diagnosis is reached when a patient presents him or herself for treatment at a medical facility. A skilled medical interpreter from a reputable translator & interpreter service will have a clear understanding of both the language and cultural requirements of the individual patient and will do a far better job than a family member whose knowledge of medical terminology in two languages is likely to be limited.

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