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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Margareth Cruz # Posted on February 2, 2023 at 12:59 pm
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The four chief roles of an interpreter includes, clarification, the conveyor and conduit of a message, cultural broker/clarifier, and being a patient advocate. These four roles are crucial for an interpreter to understand and also very important to apply. The different roles that an interpreter takes on defines their line of work.

The first role is being the conveyor or conduit. A conduit is something that links one thing to another. In this case, an interpreter is one who connects their patient with their provider and vice-versa. This connection is created by conveying a message from one language and converting the message into another for the other party to understand. This is done by using body language, tone of voice, etc as well. By converting the message, nothing is left out nor added. The conduit/conveyor acts as mediator in the situation. This mediator controls the flow of communication in the session and controls the speed of the information spoken and the turn-taking. An example of this role is if a patient is holding their right lower quadrant and complaining of pain in their language, the interpreter knows to deliver that message to the provider with no miscommunication.

As the first role is important, the other roles to come are as well. The message clarifying is valuable to an interpreter as they are the ones who have to stop the conversation if they feel a misunderstanding or miscommunication may come about. When confusion becomes present within either parties, the interpreter acts to pause the conversation, communicate that there is a misunderstanding with the party, ask for clarification, and detect an alternative to convey and relay the message. As a message clarifier, the mediator should interpret in the same formality as their patient or provider to better grasp and comprehend the information being presented to them. An example could be the patient nodding frequently or the patient looking to be confused. In this instance, the interpreter should state that there is confusion and continue with clarification.

The cultural broker is the third role of an interpreter. This role is taken on when there are words, phrases, idioms, etc used to express their current situation. On occasion, most of these words or phrases have no translation from one language to another. From this, the interpreter’s job is to clarify the misunderstanding and help the patient explain the concept and also the interpreter explain the cultural beliefs and concepts of the patient and vice-versa with a provider. For example, when my grandmother comes to the U.S from Guatemala, she brings OTC diabetic medicine from there that does not exist here. When we take her to the doctor’s office, she explains the over the counter medicine to the provider since back home, the expensive medicine is inaccessible and pharmacy techs advise alternatives. By clarifying this, the provider can gain a better understanding of what is going on and gather further information to help.

The last role of an interpreter is patient advocacy. Many language-barriered patients are unaware of their rights in general, especially their healthcare rights since they are from different backgrounds where healthcare may not be accessible without the proper funding. As an interpreter, you should be able to help patients be aware of their options and educate them on the many services available for them for their well-being. An example of this could be advocating for a patient if they are allergic to a certain substance and the provider is trying to prescribe a medication with that substance. Advocating for the patient and telling the provider the knowledge you know helps the well-being of the patient. Although risks may come about such as resentment from the providers or quality of care, being a patient advocate is one who aids the well being of the patient that they are helping and can present the patient with other options.