Interpreter at a Medical Conference
When attending medical conferences, doctors often ask me if I am a Doctor myself. I am not. I am an engineer. I like to know how things work and I like to know how to fix things when they are broken. I am also a medical interpreter.
I guess that is the reason why I am a good medical translator. I get calls from all over the world to attend medical conferences. Not because I have great medical experience, but because I can easily understand and explain how the body works and how to fix it when its failing.
Obviously, Doctors do that a lot better than engineers. So why do they call me? Because I can understand it in two different languages at the same time, and I can explain it while someone else is explaining it to me.
I am a conference interpreter. As an engineer, I seem to have built a quite strong affinity for medical conference interpretation. My professional background has provided me with the mental structure to understand how the body works. While this seems to be a mystery to most people, this is the doctor’s purpose.
I moved to Palm Beach county, because there is an amazing variety of medical infrastructure in this area. From 55+ care facilities, to diabetes treatment, aesthetics, dental, and urgent care among others.
Its important to understand my health
Palm beach county, from Boca Raton, to Boynton, from Jupiter to Pompano is a medical interpreters dream come true.
Learning about the last advances in Alzheimer’s research or alternative treatments is not even close to as exciting as being able to talk about it in public. Having the ability to transfer new and current information on the latest publications to a group of experts in a subject who respond positively to your translation is actually priceless.
Being able to understand how to fix or treat a disease or symptom that has been the source of investigation, is not as stimulating as communicating this information to the experts who have been dwelling over it throughout their entire careers.
However, bilingualism and a deep understanding of anatomy and physiology are not enough to make a medical interpreter. Knowledge on medical regulations, insurance, liability, responsibility and ethics are also crucial for a medical translator.
All translators must be aware of the cultural elements of simultaneous translation or interpreting, whether while exercising as a conference interpreter, or at a court. Yet, a medical translator must be particularly mindful of being polite, taking turns properly in the communication between the doctor and the patient or the patient’s family, using the correct body language and most of all, of interruptions.
Medical interpretation at a hospital or health center environment may be extenuating to the translator and in many cases, leads to burnout of the interpreter. As an interpreter, one must transmit in first person all the information from the doctor to the patient, regarding illnesses, and possible treatments and outcomes. As a medical interpreter, one must also translate, in first person, the fears and questions of the patient towards the information provided by the doctor or caregiver.
This means that the translator is basically absorbing the information provided by both medical personnel, patient, and probably their next of kin, therefore assuming, in first person, the entire medical situation from all points of view, transferring feelings and concerns from the patient and his family onto the doctor and transferring data and forecasts from the doctors back.
The medical translator who works as a conference interpreter, handles a completely different, yet equally stressful situation. The medical conference interpreter is responsible for effectively transmitting the results from the research or recent development to a community of experts.
Is a medical translator a specialist?
This is why medical translators specialize as much as doctors themselves. However, the dynamism and flexibility of the medical translator’s skill should be enough to allow for medical interpretation, independently of the specialty.
Medical interpretation is common among the pharmacological industry, as each new medication requires ample introduction into new markets. Research and development of medical and military characteristics lead the world’s technological forefront. Therefore, medical interpreters have a special privilege when it comes to access information. This requires of them the upmost confidentiality and ethics.
A Medical interpreter in the pharma industry must not only abide by the code of ethics of healthcare interpreters, but also, be competitive enough to handle, understand, and allocate new, relevant information, to a group of stakeholders who will use the information provided to prescribe and use these developments. Whether they correctly indicate other doctors or patients on the use or treatment of any data provided, will depend on the medical interpreter’s ability to communicate the facts and figures effectively.
Most interpreter agencies will not hire interpreters to interpret to and from the language pair, but rather, they will hire one to translate from the source (second) language to the target (mother) tongue. This is done, mainly to maintain quality during the interpretation event, and avoid heavy accents. Although it is generally a smart move, there are some very skilled interpreters who achieve mastery of both languages, thus, making it possible to translate to and from both source and target languages. However, this is not an easy find, and usually reflects on the price per hour of interpretation.
How does a medical interpreter work?
Depending on the duration of the event, you may require two or more interpreters, just to translate between one language pair, without considering additional languages to translate and or medical specialty. Certain medical interpreters do specialize in specific medical fields. This is excellent, and will provide fluency during the event, but it will also take the interpreter down a more specific interpretation path which may lead him or her to limit themselves to this specialty.
When looking for a medical interpreter, consider these aspects and ask for references. An interpreter’s portfolio is not as open as an architect’s or an advertiser’s one. The best way for you to choose the right medical interpreter for your event is to request referrals from the interpreter’s past events.