English health care lingo proves tricky

Posted by Audrey Dubois-Boutet on June 16, 2010

Imagine receiving information about a medical procedure in a language you’re uncomfortable with… Would you risk the consequences—not only to your checkbook, but also to your health—of not understanding the fine print?

Many Latinos in the U.S. are turning down health care because they don’t know what they’re paying for or what’s expected of them, Randy Nieves-Ruiz says in Newsweek.

It’s true that in the age of prescription drugs, misunderstood instructions from your doctor could spell the difference between life and death. You can never be too cautious, but it’s still heartbreaking that so many choose to forego medical care.

It’s important to remember: unless someone learns English before they hit puberty, it will take longer than a few months to master the language. So why not offer everything in multiple languages?

What would you be reluctant to do in a foreign language?
• Write a business letter?
• Sign court documents?
• Write a business proposal?
• Tell us your thoughts in a comment!

Topics: Interpretation, Healthcare