Reply To: Week 2 – Discussion Board 2

Welcome To Interpreters Associates, Inc. Forums Week 2 – Discussion Board 2 Reply To: Week 2 – Discussion Board 2

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Yasmin DeOliveira # Posted on January 31, 2023 at 12:23 pm

Being a medical interpreter means taking on four chief roles, those roles being: message conveyor, message clarifier, cultural clarifier, and patient advocate.
1. A message conveyor’s job is to convert the meaning of both verbal and non-verbal messages from one language to another language without changes, additions or subtractions. This role is typically the role an interpreter carries out the most. For example, interpreting a patient saying they are in pain and pointing to their foot from their target language to English would be considered the message conveyor role, because it is a clear and direct transfer from one language to another without confusion.
2. A message clarifier’s job is to be alert for any signs whether verbal or non-verbal of confusion from either patient or provider. In the case there are any signs of misunderstandings the interpreter will interrupt with the hand signal or a word to let both parties know there seems to be some confusion. They will then identify what the confusion was and ask the other party to make sure to clarify it in a way they understand. In instances where that may not work the interpreter may have to find a way to describe it through analogies, but it is important to remember to let both parties know when you are speaking through your own voice. For example, as you are interpreting from provider to patient you notice the patient frowning their eyebrows or squint their eyes in confusion. At this point you should show the hand signal and inform both parties there seems to be confusion and ask the provider to try describing what was just said in a simpler way. Then make sure it is understood this time before proceeding.
3. A cultural clarifier’s job is to be alert for cultural misunderstandings and clear out any confusion by explaining cultural differences. This is because some words that may exist in some languages may not exist in others, leading to confusion on both ends. As you are taking this role it is important to understand the cultural beliefs about healthcare and concepts for the target language as you may need to clarify it to clear up confusion. For example, a Brazilian patient is saying they have been taking this particular medication (that does not exist in the US) for years without prescription and are just flying it in from Brazil every few months or so. You may then have to explain to the provider if they look confused that this is in fact very common for our culture and that they just take medicine because they’ve heard from word of mouth that it will help. This ensures the provider understands why the patient has been taking this incorrect medication for years and helps better find the solution.
4. A patient advocate’s job is to actively support change for the patient’s health and well being. In this role you may help patients educate themselves to their medical rights and services available to them that they may not have known of before. When entering the role of patient advocate is it important to also remember the ethics of patient autonomy. For example, if a patient tells you they need a Portuguese speaking therapist because they have been struggling during their sessions, you may then assist them by letting the medical receptionist or nurse know that this patient needs a new therapist due to language barriers. Something as simple as that is advocating for change to better their health.