3 Major Types of Interpreting

interpreterLanguage. Everyone speaks at least one but not many are fluent in multiple languages. Living in a world where. with a click of the mouse, you can talk with anyone is becoming more of a reality every day. Exciting for some people yet frustrating for those who only speak one language. Imagine the frustration felt by the person visiting or living in a foreign country who needs medical care. They bring their medical records but the records are written in a script or a character-based language. Imagine the frustration felt by their care provider. The frustration would be less if a medical interpreter was available to assist. There are several situations that people in the medical field encounter where interpretation services are helpful. Three types of interpreting can be used to help medical staff and the patients they serve.

What Is Interpretation?

Confusing interpretation with translation is not uncommon. While they share the common denominator of converting the words of one language to another, they use different processes. Translation uses text from a source language and converts or renders it into a different language. Translation is written. Interpretation uses a similar process but the output is normally spoken. It’s an oral form of translation. Interpretation can be broken down into three major types and all three have a use in the medical field. While the first two don’t directly help the patient, they do help those in the medical profession who this imaginary patient may encounter.

Medical records

Simultaneous Interpreting

Used mainly for large events such as conferences, the interpreter works from a soundproof room. They translate, usually in real-time as a speaker speaks. Simultaneous interpreting works well with events involving two or more languages. This is the type of interpretation commonly seen when viewing world events like the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit or the recent G7 Summit. Worldwide health organizations have large-scale meetings and conferences where people involved in global health come together and learn about diseases, treatments, and innovative ways of providing healthcare.

One interesting point about simultaneous interpretation is that it requires more than one interpreter for each language represented. Interpreters can only work for about 20 minutes at a time. Any longer than that risks the interpreter losing concentration, which could result in embarrassing and in some cases, dangerous mistakes.

Consecutive Interpreting

Consecutive Interpreting is when a speaker pauses to allow an interpreter to repeat what has been said in the target language before continuing. This interpreting method works best for short speeches and meetings. It’s also used for client-attorney meetings, court depositions, parent-teacher conferences, and medical consultations. Consecutive interpreting is what hospitals use when they need a medical translator who can communicate with a patient in the patient’s native language.

The patient from the scenario above can feel confident that he or she understands the diagnoses, care plan, and aftercare instructions. Medical teams also benefit from this type of interpreting when they communicate with colleagues who may not speak the same language. Accuracy is critical in healthcare and using an interpreter or translation service helps staff ensure patients receive the most accurate information.

Phone Interpreters

Phone interpreters use consecutive interpreting methods over the phone. Small regional hospitals, medical clinics, and doctor’s offices don’t always have access to an onsite medical language translator. They do however have easy access to a phone. The phone interpreter dials in from their location making it possible for a conference call to take place from anywhere. No fancy conference equipment is needed because most mobile phones have speakerphone capability. The patient can ask questions on the spot, and ask for immediate clarification if needed.

Any medical facility can benefit from a healthcare interpreter whether it’s in person or over the phone. Contact Tembua, Inc. today so we can help you determine which interpreting service works best for your unique needs.