Professional Interpreter Services in Life and Death Situations: Leave No Room for Error

Posted by Dynamic Language January 20, 2016

In emergency situations, interpreting errors can create life-or-death situations.

When non-English speaking patients require urgent care, there is a limited amount of time to find someone who can interpret for the medical staff and patient - and even if someone who is bilingual is found, the interpretation is unlikely to be reliable and free from error. If there are medical complications due to inaccurate information, who is responsible?

Hospitals and medical clinics are required by law to provide professional interpreting services to all patients who request them, which is estimated to be about 9% of all Americans. But too often, hospitals bypass professional interpreters in emergency situations in order to expedite treatment or because professional interpretation services have not been arranged for ahead of time.

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Topics: Interpretation, Language, Healthcare

Interpreter Services Lead to Better Patient Care

Posted by Dynamic Language January 02, 2016

Using an interpreter can lead to better patient outcomes.

When there is a language barrier between doctors and patients, it's important to make sure both sides fully understand each other. In the arena of medical care, misunderstandings due to a language barrier can sometimes have dangerous--even fatal--consequences.

When thirteen-year-old Gricelda Zamora was taken to the hospital with severe abdominal pains, her parents misunderstood the doctor's directions. Normally, Gricelda served as interpreter for her Spanish-speaking parents, but she was too ill to do so in this case. The doctor told her parents to bring her back immediately if symptoms worsened, or to follow up with a doctor in three days. Her parents thought the doctor said to wait three days to see the doctor. After two days, Gricelda became so weakened that they finally brought her back to the hospital, where she died of a ruptured appendix.

Although most medical-related misunderstandings aren't nearly this serious, Zamora's situation highlights the need for qualified interpreters in the health care field. In fact, for hospitals and practices getting federal subsidies, including patients who get government-subsidized health care, providing interpretation services is a requirement under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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Topics: Interpretation, Translation, Healthcare

Mistranslation in the Medical Device Industry Leads to Lawsuits

Posted by Rick Antezana August 07, 2014

Litigation happens. It's a simple truth when doing business, that no matter how tight and orderly your company's processes are, mistakes happen, and litigation can happen as well.  

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Topics: Translation, Healthcare

Feel a Cold or Flu coming on? Say no to interpreting jobs!

Posted by Josh Kroman December 21, 2011

Today I received an email from one of our clients who runs a medical facility, and I thought it was great information that our followers, and the interpreting community at large, should be aware of.

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Topics: Interpretation, Healthcare

Another occupation encourages language-learning

Posted by Audrey Dubois-Boutet March 15, 2011

Some careers need people to know more than one language--translators and interpreters for example. But most companies don’t require it; knowledge of a second or third language is simply a small advantage in the workforce.

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Topics: Language Learning, Healthcare

A new global health plan for a new year

Posted by Audrey Dubois-Boutet January 04, 2011



In the past decade, Seattle has developed into a center for global health, thanks in large part to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other members of the Washington Global Health Alliance.

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Topics: Healthcare

State-funded medical interpreters at risk in WA

Posted by Audrey Dubois-Boutet December 14, 2010

Since Washington residents voted in November to reduce taxes, the state legislature has been scrambling in special sessions to cut budgets even further, reaching into education and health care programs once again — and this time, interpreter services may be affected.

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Topics: Interpretation, Healthcare

English health care lingo proves tricky

Posted by Audrey Dubois-Boutet 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?

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Topics: Interpretation, Healthcare

Dynamic Partners with Washington State Pharmacy Association (WSPA)

Posted by Audrey Dubois-Boutet May 19, 2010

In today’s society, cultural differences and language barriers can make it difficult to communicate. In the healthcare industry, in particular, communication errors can be both costly and potentially deadly.

According to a new study, “many Spanish-speaking people in the United States receive prescription instructions from the pharmacy so poorly translated that the medications are potentially hazardous to their health.” It has been shown that pharmacies relying on computer programs to translate medications and instructions are among the highest at risk for mistranslation.

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Topics: Translation, Healthcare

Health Care Reform: Removing Language Barriers

Posted by Audrey Dubois-Boutet June 05, 2009

On June 6th, President Obama’s political organization, Organizing for America, will kick off the new health care reform campaign. Among the various topics of discussion is the issue of improving health care for minority populations. In a recent letter to President Obama, 24 health and advocacy organizations called out the need to “provide coverage for language services for patients who have limited English proficiency, are functionally illiterate, or are deaf or hard of hearing to reduce patient care errors, improve communication with patients, and thereby reduce disparities.” The push for greater access to language services is aligned with President Obama’s efforts to provide “quality, affordable care to all Americans.” Click here to read this letter to President Obama
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Topics: Interpretation, Healthcare