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It might be surprising to know that in the United States more than 60 million people speak a language which is not English but is their preferred tongue. This means that people working in the medical profession invariably come across patients that are LEP (Limited English Proficiency). The physician knows that an LEP patient is at risk if there is a problem with understanding one another.

It’s important to get a medical interpreter onto the scene as soon as possible so that no time is lost. Often, though, a bilingual employer is called in to help out with translation. This could be very problematic if there is a wrong diagnosis which could have catastrophic results for the patient.

A hospital could be held liable if a bilingual staff member is asked to undertake a translation which is not done well. A medical translation does not deserve to be done by anyone taken off the street.  A professional medical translator has taken part in specific medical translation training. This ensures every medical term is translated correctly.

Comforting and caring for a patient is the job given to hospital staff while a medical translator is not part of this role in quite the same way.

While translating, the certified medical translator has to choose the best language in order to translate a phrase correctly.  To someone who sees themselves as bilingual may not be able to differentiate between right and wrong word usage in a translation.  Any misunderstandings can destroy a translation. An appropriate and accurate translation goes far beyond simply context and words but register and tone of the translation are important too.

A certified medical translator is trained to complete the job: which means accurately translating a document. A bilingual person who is only an amateur translator may take longer to work out the context and what language should be used when attempting to convey the right message.

There is a marked difference in the quality of a translation undertaken by a certified medical translator from a reputable translation services than when compared to an amateur translator.  A hospital job is focusing on ensuring good quality care but this still means a medical translator is essential to ensure all those involved in the treatment process know exactly what’s going on.

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