Using professional interpreters in senior care is essential to providing Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients access to appropriate care and services. Having an interpreter available also helps ensure that a patient understands what medical professionals are recommending or requesting and that the patient is satisfied with his or her care. In fact, many doctors and nurses require the assistance of interpreters not only to overcome the obvious language barriers, but also to navigate potential cultural differences. Avoiding miscommunication during a patient’s stay in senior care is extremely important in order to avoid any errors in care attributed to language barriers (and potential lawsuits that may arise from these errors if a trained interpreter is not present).
It may seem like a patient’s friend or family member could interpret for them whenever necessary. However, it is vital that the interpreter used is a trained professional. Untrained interpreters are more likely to make errors or even violate confidentiality issues, resulting in potentially adverse outcomes. Friends and family may also be embarrassed by some of the medical topics that come up and use euphemisms or different terminology than what the medical team had used. This could cause confusion on both sides. Not to mention that this could be a clear HIPAA violation!
On the other hand, a professional interpreter will be trained in the necessary skills and terminology and is fully equipped to handle the situations that may arise with the individual in senior care. Professional interpreters are also legally bound to confidentiality agreements, protecting both health care professionals and the patient. An interpreter’s code of ethics is another key difference in utilizing a professional. Non-professionals are unfamiliar with such confidentiality and ethics requirements, and therefore, they could make egregious errors or missteps that may result in improper care.
Having an interpreter available for your senior care patient not only helps ensure that the patient can communicate with the medical team, but also statistically results in higher patient satisfaction since the patient is able to feel confident in knowing his or her needs are being met, and is able to communicate in his or her preferred language. The interpreter may also be able to clarify cultural differences for the medical team if such a situation arises, since the professional interpreter is well-versed in the cultures associated with both languages. If the patient’s stay in senior care is temporary, use of a trained interpreter is also associated with significantly shorter stays and reduced readmission rates.
While on-site interpreting is preferred, understandably there will be situations in which this is not possible if an on-site interpreter is not available. In these instances, it is also possible to use telephonic interpreting services. When in doubt about a patient’s English proficiency, it is best to use either an on-site or telephonic interpreter to assess and help with the potential language barrier for the best possible outcome for both the senior care facility and its patient.
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It’s time for our latest ATS Client Feature! Each month we are sharing about some of our favorite translation and interpreting clients. This month we’re pleased to feature one of our legal services clients, Curry, Roby & Mulvey. If you’re in Ohio and need a great legal counsel, check them out!Curry, Roby & Mulvey is a growing civil litigation law firm serving every county in the State of Ohio. This diverse firm believes in confidentiality and that trust is the foundation of the attorney-client relationship, which is why Curry, Roby & Mulvey has been coming to us over the years for interpreters for on-site interpreting at depositions for their clients.
Special thanks to Curry, Roby & Mulvey for being one of our ATS featured clients! Stay tuned to learn about our other translation and interpreting clients. We can’t wait to share them with you! If you would like us to feature you in this series, please contact us and let us know.
If you’ve ever watched a film in a language other than your own, you know how important subtitles are in allowing you to understand what is happening. Subtitles can guide you through a foreign film with ease, conveying the meaning of each scene through text that helps you experience the film effortlessly. In fact, the better the subtitles, the less likely you are to even notice you’re reading them by the time you’re engrossed in the plot!
However, if you have ever come across a film with some questionable subtitles, you know that this can ruin your entire film-watching experience. If subtitles do not correctly convey the humor, drama, or emotion of a scene—how it was originally intended to be experienced—the movie experience is simply not the same.
How do you think a Chinese-speaking filmgoer would appreciate the humor of Guardians of the Galaxy if each time a character meant to insult Rocket by calling him “rodent” or “weasel”, the subtitles translated it as a term of endearment instead, such as “small raccoon”? It doesn’t quite have the same feel, right? You can find several more examples of mistakes within that particular movie here. Even the title went from Guardians of the Galaxy to Interplanetary Unusual Attacking Team!
The reasons why subtitles get mistranslated are numerous. Here are just a few:
- The film company could be relying on someone who either isn’t a professional, or who simply isn’t fluent enough in both languages to tackle this sort of work.
- The company may also expect the translator to adhere to a deadline that is too strict for 100% accuracy, or offer less compensation than more qualified translators would be willing to accept for this complex work.
- The translator may not be able to fully understand the humor, slang, or jargon within the original dialogue, since they are translating into their native language, and not from In this case, having a translator who is near native in the source language is a must.
- It’s possible the translator may have simply misheard the original line(s) if they were not provided with a written script, thus resulting in an incorrect translation.
For your amusement, here are a few other subtitle translation mistakes we’ve found:
- Juno: The Spanish translator translated “I’ll have a Maker’s Mark” to “Just sit down next to Mark.”
- Gone with the Wind: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” was translated as a slightly rougher “Straightforwardly, my dear, I would not give you a damn” in Russian.
- Apollo 13: the German translator mistook the word “peg” for “pig” in the quote “You have to learn to put a square peg in a round hole”, making for a humorous translated sentence!
Subtitles can truly make or break a box office experience in a foreign market, and it is important to use qualified translators and proofreaders to handle the task! If you’ve come across some particularly poor translations within subtitles, please let us know in the comments below!
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