As previously described in our article Different Modes and Types of Interpretation, a medical interpreter (aka healthcare interpreter) is required when a foreign patient visits a hospital for health examination or treatment. Medical interpreters can also be found at rehabilitation facilities or mental health clinics. This interpretation service is more popular in countries with an established healthcare system like the US, France, Japan or Singapore.
This article will present the reasons for which you need a medical interpreter and explain where and how you can hire a medical interpreter. This article is suitable if you are a doctor, medical specialist, or HR manager at hospitals and clinics in charge of recruiting an interpreter for your institution. It is also suitable if you are a Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patient (i.e. you do not speak English fluently), and you need an interpreter to accompany during your hospital visit, examination or operation.
1. Why do you need to hire a medical interpreter?
When you want to visit a hospital or clinic where the staff speak a foreign language, even if you can speak the language, miscommunication can still happen due to feelings of anxiousness or fear about a diagnosis or illness. Therefore, an interpreter is recommended to ensure the accuracy of the medical examination or procedure.
Asking family or friends to interpret for you is also not recommended, as they may provide inaccurate translation of specialized healthcare terms. Furthermore, they could be biased or selective in the information that they relay to you. In addition to your safety, when asking for family or friends’ help, you also forgo your confidentiality.
The above issues can be solved by hiring a professional medical interpreter. They help bridge not only linguistical but also cultural gaps that may exist between you and the medical provider. They save you money and time that otherwise be spent on extra tests and procedures due to miscommunication. Last but not least, they maintain strict patient confidentiality.
2. How and where can you find a medical interpreter?
The US has laws for taking care of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients. Therefore, if you live there, simply ask for the interpreter services from the hospital or clinic you are going to. Since the services are required by law, you do not have to pay for it.
If you have to hire your own medical interpreter, begin with utilizing word of mouth recommendations. Asking your friends, your business partner, or any interpreter you know, can be a good idea. Alternatively, you can search for a medical interpreter near you or a remote medical interpreter on the internet. Remember to include the language combination and the keyword "medical interpreter" in your search. For more details on how to find an interpreter in general, head out to this article.
Another option is to book a medical interpreter via an online interpreter reservation platform like Freelensia. Our listings page is nicely built, in which you can filter for medical interpreter for the specified target language and source language. You can also filter for onsite interpreter or remote interpreter, who will provide their services via phone or video conference. You can explore the benefits and drawbacks of remote interpretation in our article How Does Remote Interpretation Work?.
3. What makes Freelensia a reliable place to find medical interpreters?
Our interpreter reservation platform has the following outstanding benefits:
- Freelensia's service fee is 10%, much lower than that of traditional interpretation companies
- Interpreter’s interpretation fee is posted publicly and stable
- Client can discuss with the interpreter and watch their interpretation videos
- Client can publicly evaluate the interpreter after the event finishes
- Freelensia provides an online calendar, specialized vocabulary for the event and supports both client and interpreter via live chat during the event.