47 million American citizens don’t speak English or don’t speak English as a primary language. This is often what produces communication problems in situations where clear communication is important, such as in healthcare and health related services. However, many problems in communication between non-native English speakers and their doctors can be cleared up with proper and professional translation technology.
Practical Ways for Translation Technology to Impact Healthcare
Healthcare can be positively impacted by translation technology in many ways, but there are a few very practical ways that it can help improve healthcare and also help people communicate better with their doctors to prevent serious mishaps and misunderstandings. Translation services through translation technology significantly reduce costs for hospitals and other medical centers. The money they save by using text-to-text and text-to-speech technology for translation between doctors, nurses, and patients can be spent on other much needed medical equipment and services to better help patients everywhere.
Translation technology can also reduce wait time for patients as well. It’s not uncommon for people to have to wait up to twenty-five minutes on top of other wait times just to get a translator. The wait time can be even longer for uncommon languages. However, most hospitals have the means to find Spanish, German, and Chinese translation services fairly quickly. Finding a translator simply for paperwork though, isn’t always feasible, especially during an emergency. That’s why translation technology is becoming especially popular in hospitals where stacks of paperwork are filled out every hour. In fact, most of the time interpreters aren’t even called in for paperwork unless it’s absolutely necessary, but it’s still important for paperwork to be filled out correctly and accurately, or else fatal mistakes can be made.
Translation Technology Improves Personal Care
By using translation technology, the healthcare industry isn’t only impacted by saving money and getting paperwork done faster, the personal side of healthcare is also affected. By using a professional translator as a middleman, doctors run the risk of being caught by the “telephone” effect and getting lost in translation. Also, patients are often reluctant to communicate personal information of sometimes sensitive nature to people apart from their doctor, so important details can be left out. Having a written translation of a patient’s records and health questionnaires can allow a doctor to see if the questions are really being understood or not. Conversation can move more quickly, and it can also allow the conversation to be more personal, which is how doctor-patient communication should be.