Features: September/October 2016
International Translation Day is celebrated every year on 30 September.
Highlighting this day provides an opportunity to celebrate the work of medical interpreters and other language professionals who help patients, their families and community understand medical care.
In the health care and medical setting, trained health care interpreters improve clinical care, help ensure appropriate utilization, and decrease medical errors. Trained interpreters are part of the medical team and help to assure effective communication between the client and provider, support effective use of time during the clinical encounter, and improve outcomes.
The following video is meant to illustrate some best practices in working with medical interpreters. This short role-play video and subsequent discussion video focus on the importance of providing contextual information to the interpreter. This is called pre-session, pre-conference, or AIDET. AIDET is an acronym that describes the essential components for introduction: Acknowledge the other person, Introduce oneself, state the expected Duration of the encounter, Explain context or provide background information, say Thank you.
The best practice is to have a brief pre-session (30-60 seconds is usually more than sufficient) between the provider and interpreter before walking into the encounter. However, in practice we know that the interpreter often walks into an encounter after the provider and patient have already started communicating, be that in ambulatory, emergency, or in-patient settings. For that reason, we chose to show examples of a pre-session where the physician and interpreter transparently communicate their intentions to the patient before talking about her.
Visit EthnoMed's Interpreting Pearls: Pre-Session page for a 2nd additional scenario.
|In this segment (1:14 min), the physician and patient already know one another. The interpreter introduces himself to the patient. The provider offers some background information to the medical interpreter, providing helpful context for the interpreter. The physician asks the patient’s permission to give the interpreter that information. Also note the interpreter’s use of first-person speech, another expected best practice.||In this segment (1:32 min) the same participants discuss their roles and what was happening during the session.
Interpreters are an essential part of the medical team. Pre-sessions provide crucial information that will help both the clinician and the interpreter to communicate effectively with the patient. In addition to the examples in the videos above, pre-sessions are useful to:
- Make certain that the right provider is seeing the right patient
- Verify that the interpreter speaks the correct language/dialect for the patient
- Help the interpreter know the appropriate tone of voice or mode of communication to use based on the situation
- Set expectations of how long an encounter will last or how long an interpreter is available
- Advise both provider and interpreter of any additional concerns before working with the patient
Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center:
Best Practices for Communicating Through an Interpreter
What are Mammograms and Breast Cancer - A Guide for Somali Women
This 18-minute video slideshow presentation, narrated in Somali with optional English subtitles, is intended to be used by clinicians during discussion with patients about mammograms and breast cancer. It is culturally tailored to reflect common questions and concerns, with a focus on addressing major barriers to screening. It includes images of the various stages of the mammogram process and signs/symptoms of breast cancer.
- What are Mammograms and Breast Cancer - A Guide for Somali Women
- Provider Guide: Some background and guidance for providers about the topic and suggestions for using the slideshow
- English/Somali Transcript: 11-page PDF text-only script used for narration of the slideshow
How Foods Affect Blood Sugar: A Guide for Latino Patients with Diabetes
This bilingual presentation is intended to be used by clinicians during discussion with patients about carbohydrates and blood glucose. It is culturally tailored to reflect foods commonly consumed by Latino Americans and includes photos of foods, meal comparisons, and portion sizes. Also, includes tips for eating healthily during holidays, and cooking tips. Authored by Elizabeth Hulbrock.
- Narrated video slideshow presentation (40 minutes)
- PDF presentation with table of contents (126 slides)
View other similar guides tailored for Cambodian, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Somali and Vietnamese patients with diabetes.