Week 2 – Discussion Board 2

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

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    • #52498
      Avatar photoArt Liebl
      Keymaster

      In at least 250 words, outline the four chief roles of a medical interpreter, citing examples of each. Reply to two fellow students by Monday.

    • #53423
      Yasmin DeOliveira
      Participant

      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.

      • #53433
        Avatar photoMargareth Cruz
        Participant

        Hi Yasmin,

        I loved the examples that you used. It really helped understand what each role is truly about. I wrote of similar examples for some of the roles which makes me glad that we think somewhat alike and have a good understanding of what is expected of all of us interpreters-to-be. You gave each role a good definition which helps understand what it means.

      • #53436
        Sherley Montes
        Participant

        Hello! I definitely loved reading your intake on the four chief roles. Some of the examples you used gave me a better understanding and perspective.You did a good job explaining each role thoroughly.

    • #53432
      Avatar photoMargareth Cruz
      Participant

      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.

      • #53437
        Sherley Montes
        Participant

        Hello Margareth! I really admired the examples you used for each chief role. I believe you pin pointed every role comprehensively and i enjoyed reading your outlook.

      • #53442
        Yasmin DeOliveira
        Participant

        Hello Margareth! You explained each role very clearly and gave great examples to accompany your explanations. I also appreciate you bringing up they may be risks to entering the patient advocate role, I think it is something important to be remembered and actually forgot to bring it up myself. Loved reading your post as always!!

    • #53435
      Sherley Montes
      Participant

      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.

      • #53438
        Avatar photoMargareth Cruz
        Participant

        hi sherley,

        I enjoyed reading your post. As I read through the pages of the manual, I began to understand the importance of each role and the meaning for it. Most of the roles are roles that I never even considered to be applied to an interpreter.

      • #53443
        Yasmin DeOliveira
        Participant

        Hello Sherley! I appreciated your mention that not every patient has the same grammar and education as others, I think it is very important to understand levels of education. Great points, and great examples. Loved reading your post!

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