US: Interpreters Break Language Barrier


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Interpreters Break Language Barrier

When health care professionals in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, have difficulty understanding Spanish-speaking patients, the Integrated Community Program steps in to provide interpreting services. Karina Craig, a program manager at Integrated Community Interpreting, says that one of her objectives as an interpreter is to create a climate in which everyone appears to be speaking the same language. "The medical provider wants to provide excellent medical care to a patient, but that's not possible if the communication is not good," she says. "We believe everything the physician says is important and everything the patient wants to say or ask is important." The program's services are underwritten by grants, making it possible to offer interpreting services at no charge. Integrated Community Executive Director Tatiana Achcar stresses that interpreting services are but one component of the health care access issue. She points out that people are entitled to know and understand information about their well-being. She says non-English speakers without access to interpreters may have trouble understanding diagnoses and treatment guidance, which delays important preventive care. Craig says that participating interpreters must be fully bilingual. Physicians concur with Craig and Achcar that using interpreters is far more effective than using family members or others who are not fully bilingual.

From "Interpreters Break Language Barrier"
Steamboat Pilot & Today (CO) (07/19/09)

Source: ATA Newsbriefs - July 2009


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