When it comes to medical services and facilities, translation abilities can be a tricky thing. Not only would staff have to be bilingual to effectively communicate with patients who don’t speak English, but also both members of the conversation would need to know the meaning and words of specific medical terms and conditions.
For example, if someone can successfully hold a conversation in another language, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll know the proper term for a word like “laparoscopy” in that language. For one hospital in New Jersey, the language gap has consistently been a problem.
Like many cities in the United States, many residents speak Spanish as their first language. Until recently, one bilingual staff member performed all of the Spanish translations for the rest of the staff. However, a student intern changed the way translations were conducted for good.
Student Intern Made Major Changes to Hospitals Translation Tactics
Translation abilities in any workplace are important, which is why when Maria Lima from Brazil began her internship at CentraState Medical Center last summer, she saw the serious inefficiencies brought by the lack of Spanish translation services.
Because a single staff member had to run back and forth whenever anyone needed a translation, patients were waiting extra long for treatment, results, and even medical attention. During her internship, she started customizing all of the hospital’s quick translation guides so that they more effectively addressed the problems a patient might be having.
She created different guides for different departments and even created cue cards so that the staff could quickly interact with Spanish-speaking visitors.
Lima Customized the Material by Watching Interactions Closely
To determine what types of questions patients would have in each department, Lima actually sat in on many appointments and watched the patients’ reactions to certain things.
The guides fit the requirements of each department and also contain a translated diagram of the human body. That way, if a doctor is having trouble explaining a body part, he or she can use the diagram instead of waiting for a Spanish translator to help.
Spanish is a popular language in the United States, and the Spanish-speaking population only continues to grow. Especially in medical facilities, Spanish language translations are essential to the safety and health of the patients. With the help of innovative young minds like that of Maria Lima, these facilities will hopefully begin making their translation efforts more effective so that patients can be treated quickly and precisely.