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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Sherley Montes # Posted on February 2, 2023 at 7:05 pm

Medical interpreters take on various roles. In some scenarios they may have to adjust to certain roles in order to effectively make sure all parties are on the same page. The four main chief roles include a message conveyor or conduit, a message clarifier, a cultural broker/ clarifier, and a patient advocate. A message conveyor/ conduit’s role is to interpret verbal and nonverbal messages between both parties. While doing this the conveyor/conduit must relay the message without adding, subtracting or changing the message. Additionally, a conveyor/conduit may have to interfere if the patient or provider is speaking too fast or not turn taking appropriately. An example of a conveyor/conduit is if a patient is explaining that a body part is hurting and then points (using non verbal cues) to the body part. The interpreter must convey the message as presented verbally and nonverbally from one language to another.
Furthermore, the next main chief role is a message clarifier. The role of a message clarifier is to be aware of any words that can be misunderstood so that they can take action in order to transfer the meaning correctly to each party. Some of the things a message clarifier may have to do is intervene or use word pictures in order to clarify the correct words and meanings being used. A message clarifier must understand that not every patient has the same grammar and education as others . Therefore, understanding the level of a patient’s background and education plays a big role in understanding that different words can all have the same meaning. An example of this is if a patient is having a hard time understanding what is being said it is up to the interpreter to be mindful that what is being said is not being understood by a party. So an interpreter may have to look for signs of confusion which can vary but some signs may include a patient who wrinkles their nose or scrunch their forehead. Therefore, it is the interpreters job to intervene and be able to register the message according to their background and level of education and interpret the message accordingly.
Moreover, the next chief role is cultural broker/ clarifier. First, one must understand that there are many cultural differences when it comes to beliefs, health and illnesses. An interpreter must be aware that there are certain words/expressions in different cultures that can be misunderstood. Therefore, it is their job to be able to interpret different words or expressions to the appropriate language and meaning. An example of this is, someone who speaks English uses the expression “im feeling under the weather today” to signify they are feeling sick. If that were translated in another language it can be misunderstood and not expressed in the same way in another language. Therefore, the job of a cultural broker/ clarifier is to clarify the ultimate meaning of what the party is trying to communicate.
Lastly, the fourth chief role is a patient advocate. Many patients are unaware of their rights and their resources due to language barrier. The role of a patient advocacy is to be of support to the patient and the patients well being. In certain situations, an interpreter will need to acknowledge if something is wrong and intervene if it is in the patient’s best interest and also consensual. An example of this role is if a patient does not want to go through a procedure and is vulnerable , an interpreter can remind them they have the right to refuse. Another example of patient advocacy is providing a patient with inside and outside resources that will help meet their needs. In some cases, a patient advocate may have to encounter risks when intervening but, as long as the patient’s health and rights are being considered it is up to the interpreter to decide the next steps.