Over the past 15 years, the number of ESL/no English patients that doctors have been seeing has increased exponentially. With this in mind, here is a list of best practices for communicating with ESL patients that doctors, and other healthcare professionals, should keep in mind when confronted with an ESL/no English patient.
A 9-year old Vietnamese girl suffering from an infection was rushed to the hospital by her parents and 16-year old brother. Her parents spoke primarily Vietnamese. The hospital failed to provide an interpreter at any point in the medical encounter, relying instead on the girl and her brother to interpret for the physician and parents.
U.S. universities are seeing a record influx of international students. According to the"2015 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange", the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities had the highest rate of growth in 35 years, increasing by ten percent to a record high of 974,926 students in the 2014-2015 academic year.
Enrollment of international students hit a record high in
the 2014-2015 academic year.
With almost one million international students enrolled at institutions of higher learning, is your university doing everything possible to attract international students? Do your recruiting efforts include a strong emphasis on providing multilingual and multicultural support for international students and their families?
According to the U.S. State Department, since the year 1975, the U.S. has welcomed more than three million refugees across all 50 states. From 2006 through 2015, 622,169 refugees were resettled to the U.S. through the Refugee Admissions Program, and in 2015 alone, 69,933 refugees were resettled to America.
U.S. classrooms today have students who speak a variety of different languages.
This influx of refugees is likely to continue, as Secretary of State John Kerry recently announced that the Refugee Admissions Program is being expanded to further help vulnerable families from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Globally, approximately 45 percent of all refugees are under the age of 18. This staggering percentage explains why, as refugee families continue to be resettled in America, there is an increasing need for language support for refugee children entering U.S. school systems.
Many colleges want to attract international students from various countries.
According to the Institute of International Education, 975,000 international students are enrolled in colleges throughout the United States. The nation sending the most international students to the U.S. is China, followed closely by India and South Korea. Some popular subjects for international students to study often include business, engineering, mathematics, and education, among other areas of study.
Colleges and universities work hard to attract international students to their schools, but many prospective students and their families aren't proficient in English. Are colleges doing enough to ensure these students and their parents can understand their marketing content, plus the potentially complex paperwork related to the college enrollment experience? In part, it depends on how motivated the schools are to communicate with these potential students in their native language in addition to English, beginning early in the recruitment process.
Globalization has forever changed the world of business and academia. Every year, thousands of conferences are held, and many of these conferences have a truly global audience, with attendees and speakers from a wide variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
Conveying your message to a multi-lingual audience requires skill and planning.
How Globalization Spurs the Need for New Language Competencies
The article "The Impact of Globalization on Communication Skills Development" observes: "Communication skills development has always been an important factor of success in business, but the influence of globalization and cross-cultural interaction in recent decades has impacted the types of communication skills needed in dramatic ways. No longer can entrepreneurs afford to simply communicate well within their own homogeneous cultures. Today, people need to understand the dynamics of long-distance collaboration, the impact of culture on manners of speaking and body language, and how to use technology to communicate with people on the other side of the globe."
As businesses and universities engage with an ever-widening range of cultures and languages, it is increasingly clear that language interpretation is a service in high demand. Businesses and Universities wishing to adequately reach their entire global audience must accommodate cultural and linguistic differences in order to be effective and successful.
Experts in healthcare interpretation services have found that qualified
interpreters can improve the care for limited English proficiency patients.
The National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare is an organization dedicated to creating equal access to health care through accurate interpretation and translation. Besides advocating for interpretation rights for patients, the organization also provides training for interpreters.
Healthcare interpreting can take place in many different settings. Hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, home visits, and public health presentations all involve different kinds of crucial health conversations, and it’s essential for this information to be properly understood by the patient. Interpreting may be necessary between doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers, and the patient and their family members, depending on the situation.
An infographic overview of some of the concepts, processes and terminology used in the language and translation services industry.
Professional interpreting services will help your entire medical team provide better care to patients.
Working with diverse patients who have Limited Proficiency in communicating in English (LEP for “Limited English Proficiency”) presents some unique challenges for medical professionals. Understanding medical terminology and instructions can be difficult even without a language barrier, so it's easy to see how it could be especially difficult to diagnose and treat patients who don't have a good understanding of the language their medical professionals speak when they have difficulty in providing feedback during an exam.
Communicating with LEP patients poses many challenges. Patients may be embarrassed about their lack of English skills and pretend they understand a doctor's instructions when in fact, they don't understand. They may believe they are saving everyone trouble by using their children, a family member, or a friend to interpret for them, but does their chosen interpreter understand the terminology used? And from a liability perspective, do the patient and interpreter know the implications of what they’re committing to?