medical interpreting

Main Differences between Medical Translation and Medical Interpreting

(Last Updated On: August 10, 2020)

It is a general rule in life that all of us will have to go through pain, once, if we are very lucky, but again and again if we are just like everyone else. Sometimes this pain is only emotional and sometimes it is physical. Emotional pain for us can also be physical pain for someone else. It happens when someone we love is suffering from a disease and we can’t do anything for them. That brings immense pain to everyone’s heart. There is no meter around to measure the greatness of people’s sufferings but it can be said without doubt that each kind of pain hurts.

At the center of all physical sufferings is a place that is hated equally around the world and that is a hospital. Sure, it is a place where get treated and many of them leave it healthier than before but that isn’t the case for everyone. And there is a feel in hospitals of pain and misery that is enough to scare anyone. People may leave a hospital alive and well but the time they spent there being unsure of the future is something that is hard to forget and leaves an everlasting impact.

We go to great lengths to avoid discomfort and misery of any kind. When someone we love is going for work, we tell them to drive safely. We tell our children to watch where they are going when they are walking on the streets. We follow traffic rules ourselves to be safe from unwanted pain. Vaccines are another way to fight diseases. We also buy insurances of different kinds so that when we do end up in an unpleasant situation, we won’t have to worry about our finances. Because sooner or later, everyone has to face painful moments, whether they bring physical discomfort or emotional trauma.

But despite the unpleasantness of hospitals, there are a few things that can make them bearable. Many people say that when a doctor listens to their patient patiently, it makes the patient feel better instantly because they feel confident that they are in good hands and will be taken good care of. All the healthcare staff in a hospital can play a great role in a person’s treatment and recovery. Providing the best healthcare services should be the priority for sure but there are other things that can help the patient feel at ease, like talking to them about their likes, providing them with reading material, and being polite with them.

However, there are moments when it becomes pretty difficult for the staff to help a patient feel better. For instance, if the patient is from a foreign country and does not speak the same language as the hospital staff, they will feel pretty helpless and lost. The staff will not be able to provide them with healthcare services, nor talk to them about random things to take their mind off of their pain. This is where medical interpreting comes into play and help all the parties involved.

medical interpreting

Medical Interpreting:

medical interpreting

When a situation arises in which a patient or doctor’s statement should get across quickly, an interpreter is called in who has enough experience in medical interpreting and know all the terms to be able to translate them efficiently. The interpreter is also called in when two doctors from different countries are discussing a case to arrive at a better diagnosis. Consultations with foreign doctors have become quite common thanks to the efficient means of communication available at our disposal today. But the language barrier could have been a problem had it not been for interpreting.

Main Differences between Medical Translation and Medical Interpreting:

When people hear the word medical interpreting, they wonder how different it is from medical translation. And if both are the same, why do different experts handle both fields. It is completely okay to have these questions since a lot of people think that translation and interpretation are the same thing. They are often used interchangeably too which is okay as long as the usage doesn’t confuse people. But there are a few differences between medical translation and medical interpreting and here they are:

  1. Time Difference:

Translations require longer time. A translator will require at least twenty-four hours to finish working on a document and if the document is a long one, the required time will increase too. When translations of reports are required with no urgency then medical translation is used but during emergency situations medical interpreting is preferred as it provides assistance in real time.

  1. Emergency Assistance:

Medical translation is useless when someone ends up in the emergency in a foreign hospital. But an interpreter will be able to explain the patient’s condition and their allergies to the doctor in real time and get them the much-needed help quickly.

  1. No Location Barrier:

Although medical translation has no location barriers either and can be accessed from anywhere, interpreting is where this benefit helps the most. A patient from France stuck in Germany can get an interpreter from Canada on phone or video call within seconds and get their help.

  1. Body Language:

Medical interpreters are well versed in healthcare topics and can read gestures and expressions of a patient to help the doctors when the patient can’t express their condition properly in words. Even if they speak in a broken language, an interpreter will be able to help but a medical translator will be useless in such a scenario.

On the surface the two fields may seem similar but their differences define their uses in the healthcare industry and how they can prove to be helpful in different situations.