19 June, 2009
At hospitals and clinics, communicating the names of illnesses, explaining the consent form for an operation, and other medical minutia can be a challenge for staff, even when talking to a Japanese patient. When the patient is a foreigner, the language barrier can magnify those challenges, which is where medical interpreters come in.
Medical interpreters aim to explain medical workers’ intentions as precisely as possible to patients, and in turn relate the patients’ thoughts clearly to Japanese doctors and nurses. In hospitals, where life and death decisions are made by medical staff every day, these interpreters have a great role to play in the welfare of foreign patients.