Do I Need A Trained Interpreter

Why use a trained interpreter?

Trained interpreters save lives, money and heartaches.

On-site interpreting done by a trained interpreter can enhance and improve outcomes – whether it be patient care, legal processes, or client results. It can also…

  1. Facilitate communication with the limited-English-proficient client because on-site interpreters help with the process from start to finish, know local language, ensure that all parties understand what is being said.
  2. Help ensure compliance by the client (because of greater understanding) and reduce client no-shows to appointments (MAMI interpreters make reminder calls to clients in their language).
  3. Maintain clarity of meaning. The provider can feel more secure in understanding a client’s explanation of the situation or symptoms and therefore can provide better and more reliable service. The interpreter interprets everything accurately and completely. He/She interprets exactly what is said and how it is said – even when it does not seem to make sense and uses the same pattern of speech and tone as the patient.
  4. Relieve the responsibility of interpretation by client’s family member who often does not fully understand and leaves critical facts or nuances out of interpretation.
  5. Ensures HIPPA compliance.
  6. Reduce issues relating to conflicts of interest.
  7. Ensures a more personal and natural process. The interpreter can assist in interpreting body cues that have cultural significance.
  8. Offer the provider more insights into cultural issues.

MAMI interpreters receive 45 to 80 hours of medical training and some enhance their education with an additional 64 hours in legal training. Classes include professionalism, ethics, confidentiality, HIPAA regulations, conflict of interest, medical and legal terminology, techniques and extensive practice and role-playing sessions. They are covered by liability insurance. MAMI interpreters are among the best in the field.

The on-site trained interpreter may be the best choice in certain circumstances (mental health issues, when there is a child involved, when serving clients who are hard of hearing, when there is client education involved, when there are materials that need to be sight translated, when there are multiple people in the room, during initial visits when there may be multiple documents to be completed by the client, when serious life or death or life-changing issues are being discussed, when cultural issues — especially visual cues may make a difference in the outcome of the situation and when the client needs written directions in his language on how to use prescriptions or equipment and how to follow the provider’s directives.)

MAMI contracts are non-exclusive and do not require any minimum number of hours.

Study Demonstrates the Value of Using the Trained Interpreter

Journal of General Internal Medicine: Professional Language Interpretation And Inpatient Length Of Stay And Readmission Rates — This three-year study at one hospital found that providing a professional interpreter at both admission and discharge correlated with a shorter stay and decreased likelihood of readmission for patients with limited English proficiency. Patients who didn’t have an interpreter at either time stayed 1.5 days longer, on average, and were more likely to be readmitted within 30 days than those who did have an interpreter. Those results could help develop “a business case,” authors write, for providing interpretation (Lindholm, Hargraves, Ferguson and Reed, 4/18).