medical-interpreter

Language Access in Health Care Creates Cultural Competence

I had the privilege this week of sitting down with some nursing students to talk about one of my favorite subjects, Language Access for health care! In the interview below, I discussed the meeting with my colleague, Jana Bitton, who is the Executive Director at Oregon Center for Nursing.

Here are a few of the things we discussed:

What are some challenges when providing language access?

As we spoke, Bitton observed that, in her experience, nurses are pretty good about using interpreters appropriately. Occasionally, a nurse may grab someone who is bi-lingual to provide interpretation for patients, not necessarily someone trained in medical translation for convenience.

There is also issues with cost, technology, and efficiency. All of these can be overcome, but are the right incentives in place?

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Do we need legislation?

Some are looking at adding legislation to make sure health systems are complying with providing translation and interpretation services.  Bitton likes the idea. She said that sometimes you do need to legislate things because there is not another reason to change behavior. However, there are some incentives built into current health care reforms in the form of a positive patient experience. The better the experience, the more funds that come to the organization. The relates directly to providing treatment and communication in the native languages of patients.

I adore about nurses. They are the people at the front line of the health care fight. They are seeing all levels of society and where the problems are. They are identifying any issues they see. Nurse-led effort to improve communication with patients is really important.

What are some current ideas that are working/not working?

There have been some efforts made to improve culturally competent discharge procedures. When discharging, you need to sit down and make sure they understand what just happened to them and what is the follow up.

In the interview, we heard about Providence Hood River Medical Center who recently realized that there were not a lot of cultural competence in place considering language, etc. They revamped the discharge procedure and made sure they had an interpreter there to ensure.

What do you think?

Do you have any thoughts about more challenges for providing language access in health care? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Listen to our Discussion Here:

Tool Tips: Track Your Projects in Linguistlink

LinguistLink was designed to enable collaboration on language-related projects for clients, project managers, and linguists. Everyone benefits when you participate!

Here are a few ways you can use LinguistLink:

Review available projects

When a project is proposed to you it will show up in the panel “available projects for you”. Be the favorite linguist by responding right away in the system!

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Start conversations to get details about the project

Got questions? It’s a great idea to get a full understanding on what you’re getting into before you commit! It’s easy to get answers by starting a conversation! Just reference the project number.

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Accept the project

Accept the project in LinguistLink. There are many reasons to do this. One of which is to build your portfolio. Potential clients can review your experience when choosing to assign the project.

Participate in the forum

If you have a question about a project, it could be others have the same question! Or, maybe you discover some new trick? Share it! You can benefit by having access to other linguists.

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Mark the task complete

Show you meet deadlines by completing the project on time in linguistlink. Also this is how those jobs show up on your profile/portfolio.

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Ask for feedback

After the project is completed, you can seek feedback from your scheduler. This will help you know what you did well and how you should improve.

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Opportunities for linguists

Here are some interesting opportunities you might be interested in. . .

 

From OHCIA

Dear Interpreter,

The Oregon Health Authority’s Office of Equity and Inclusion (OHA-OEI) is inviting you to respond to this survey because we are interested in your perspective on the working conditions for interpreters. Survey responses will be analyzed for insights on how to improve program services, laws and policies, and the working conditions for health care interpreters in Oregon.

Benefits for completing this survey

You will receive 2 continuing education units (CEU). Your CEU certificate will be emailed to you separately and will count toward the 24 hours of required CEU’s for renewing OHA issued HCI letters. The CEU credits will not count toward other national or states program requirements.

To ensure that your personal information is kept separate from your survey responses, a separate window for CEU information will open about a minute after you complete the survey. Please note that your personal information will only be used for emailing your CEU certificate and will not be shared.

The survey will end on September 30th, 2018 and the results will be published on the OHA/OEI website two months after the survey ends.

Please click this link to begin the survey (https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3643875/Health-Care-Interpreter-Satisfaction-Survey).

Thanks as always for your help.

The Sky was Falling at the Mindlink Picnic

The end of the summer picnic was an event we won’t soon forget. We met at Irving Park in Portland, Ore. Some of you may have worked on translating signs for this park earlier this year!

Unfortunately, as is typical in the Pacific Northwest, the weather didn’t really cooperate. We gathered under a large oak tree which provided a nice cover. We then enjoyed a taco bar provided by Cha! Cha! Cha!

It was all good until the breeze blew and hundreds of hard acorns pummeled us from above!

As one attendee observed:

It seemed like the start of a joke! Spanish, Italian..Israeli and Thai sat around a picnic table. then acorns start falling from the sky…

If you couldn’t make this time, be sure to catch us at a future event. Guaranteed to be unforgettable.

Check out our album:

 

 

interpretation

The Nuclear Summit and the Importance of a Trained Interpreter

The news media has recently taken particular focus on the coverage of the Trump and Kim nuclear summit of June 11, 2018. As a recent TIMES report mentions, a solid trained interpreter feels the pressure of achieving a successful meeting  of the country leaders for which they interpret.

The Times report quotes Jenna Gibson, Director of Communications at the Korea Economic Institute of America, saying, “There are very nuanced differences between words and between levels of formality in Korean.” She adds, “I don’t envy the translators at the summit, because they are going to have to make split-second decisions.”

In extreme scenarios, the interpreters’ choice of words have the power to make the difference between world peace and world war. Of course, interpreters of this caliber are highly trained in transparency and are capable of clarifying their message, should it be required.

But this brings about an important point: for any event to be successful, the interpreter must be in sync with the speaker. They must have expert knowledge on the topic being discussed. They must have a solid contextual understanding of the perception of the topic between the parties involved. This is why professional trained interpreters are so important!

Additionally, the must have nimble social skills to learn and adapt to the speakers intonation and speaking pattern in order to fully render the meaning of the speaker’s message. In other words, the interpreter must know not only the meaning behind the words spoken, but also the meaning behind how they are spoken. For example, did the speaker’s hesitant “No” mean, “No, I didn’t understand and I’m saying no because it’s a yes/no question..”, or “No, I don’t want to”. 

Often times, finding a good interpreter for your event is difficult. Most organizations don’t have the resources to learn to screen, hire, and manage an interpreter, let alone organize all the interpreter needs. That’s where language agencies come in.

A language company who has their client’s concerns in mind will support their client throughout their planning phases of the event where they’ll be using the interpreting service. Besides seeking out to fill the interpreter requests, the customer focused language company will want to be part of the planning team. It will request as much information about the event to be discussed. From general topic information, to the powerpoint presentation or speech of the speakers–the language agency will want to see it all.

translation-collaboration

What We’ve Lost in Translation Project Collaboration

Sometimes the toughest part about human translation is developing the right strategy for Translation Project Collaboration with the translation team. Depending on the scope of the project, there are a lot of moving pieces and it can be tricky to keep things organized. But, how do you balance the use of technology to get the most from working with humans? I’m happy to tell you, there is a way.

The first time I tried translation project collaboration was in 1997 as a fresh college graduate. I worked for a government contractor in San Diego. My boss decided to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) that was for the El Salvadoran government. They required one copy of the 100+ page proposal in English and one in Spanish. And we had a week to do it before the deadline.

At the time, tools like computer-aided translation, dropbox, google translate hadn’t been invented yet. I did know my way around Windows 95 and considered myself pretty advanced at the current version of Microsoft Word.

Since I had studied French and Italian in College, I was appointed to coordinate the team of about twelve native Spanish speakers that my boss arranged to do the actual translation.

I still remembered the day the team showed up and looked at me like “ok we’re here”. I felt very ill-equipped. In 1997, you couldn’t just google problems like you can now (maybe I could have searched AOL, but it didn’t even occur to me to do that).

I have to admit, it wasn’t an easy start. We had a couple of duplicate pages translated, hiccups on the formatting of tables and graphs, and a LOT of questions that I couldn’t answer. But sometimes when the stress piles on, you get a “eureka” moment! This happened to me. I suddenly had this flash of how to get organized!

I collected all the documents that the team was using and I printed ONE copy of the proposal.  Each linguist took a page out of the “outbox” I had created. They translated the page and saved the translated document on the central server (we did have at least a network back then, come on!). I would then integrate the translations into a master document and apply the same formatting as in English. At the end, I would be able to print the completed Spanish version and have a couple of proofreaders go through it to help with consistency.

Once we got organized, it became a lively process. We asked each other questions and debated language and meaning. As the resident native English speaker, I had to explain sometimes the intention of the source document. Sometimes I even made translation suggestions! Sadly, we didn’t win the bid. But it was certainly not due to our beautiful Spanish version of the proposal.

Twenty years later, translation project coordination is MUCH easier. We have powerful tools to aid in organizing, assigning and translating about any type of document. As an efficiency geek, I love how streamlined it is. Reducing stress increases the quality of the translation. In addition, translation can be done from a laptop from wherever and whenever. This opens doors for trained translators to have a flexible and fulfilling career; as well as making translation more available for people who historically may have been linguistically isolated.

But, I can’t help thinking that with all the powerful and innovative tools available, that something may have been lost. For years I have wanted to find a way to recreate that lively and collaborative process of having everyone in a room. This is why I created LinguistLink.

For years I have wanted to find a way to recreate that lively and collaborative process of having everyone in a room. This is why I created LinguistLink.

Although it’s no replacement for that face to face interaction, we’re using efficient technologies to enable communication for everyone involved in a project. Linguists can post questions and  discussions in a central discussion board. They can even ask the creators of the source with information. Project Managers and Requesters can track what is going on and keep things moving. Human beings have more value than just operating tools. Linguistlink is a space to bring that value to every project.

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