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Legal and Medical Interpretation: A Critical Service

Legal and Medical Interpretation

Last updated on November 1st, 2016 at 10:26 pm

We have already discussed in this translation blog the importance of interpretation services, the difference with translation services and the abilities, qualification, and training that an interpreter needs to have to accomplish their job. The idea of this post is to point out the importance of medical and legal interpretation services and the seriousness of an inaccurate rendering.

Making a Difference in Health and Freedom

Medical interpreters and legal interpreters are the facilitators that bridge the language gap during a medical interpretation and judicial interpretation session. Due to the nature of the matters involved, medical and legal interpreters have a responsibility and ethical duty to complete the task successfully. One deals with the health and well being of a person and the other might even determine the freedom of an individual or the loss of assets. Needless to say, there are many moral elements involved in the selection of the appropriate trained individual for the duty and there are many components to consider, including budget and planning, to facilitate the interpretation service. 

A Critical Service with Critical Requirements

In addition to the ethical and training issues regarding interpretation, there are important rules to execute the job appropriately. During the activity, the primary goal of an interpreter should be to deliver an accurate and complete interpretation. With that in mind, the following processes should be performed:

  • Setting the stage-set clear expectations of their role. Interpretation is mainly about transmitting information.
  • Managing the flow of communication– so that important information is not lost or miscommunicated.
  • Managing the triadic relationship – the interpreter’s role is not to take sides or take control over the message, rather to achieve the communication process.
  • Assisting in closure activities – prepare communication for follow ups and aid the connection with other services required particularly in the medical setting.

All of these processes do not need to be covered in every interpretation setting but are vital in Medical and Legal interpretations. 

The Success of and Need for Professional Interpretation Services

Recently, we found 2 articles that show how important legal and medical interpretations are. The first article is a success story about how medical interpretations have helped the Hospital at the University of Rochester, in  Rochester, New York to bridge the language barrier and also has shorten hospital stays and readmission rates.

The other article, “Growing Language Needs A Challenge For Nevada Justice System”, that we found is a story about Nevada’s court system. There, insufficient resources to aid the Spanish speaking defendants waiting for trials and the controversy surrounding budget cuts, which resulted in a bigger shortage of legal interpreters, created conflicts that caused both moral and justice issues.

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Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela. Jackie has a BS in computer engineering; As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.