Hospitals’ language service capacity doesn’t always match need

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Aren't patients expecting too much? Aug 13, 2016

When I lived in France I was paid by the relative of a critically ill American patient to interpret for him. Why should French taxpayers have paid?

My health care in the Netherlands was always in English. In fact, if you're a native English speaker it's very hard to find an opportunity to practise your Dutch there. I understand and applaud their preference but it can be a little irritating.

Here in Spain I don't have a great command of the language. But why expect them to use my language? I've always managed to muddle through. If I can't one day, I'll have two choices: pay someone or ask someone to interpret out of the goodness of their heart (friend, charity, etc). I would never presume to expect taxpayers to pay. And I hope my taxes aren't going to help lazy fellow Brits who choose to live here.


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Vi Pukite  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:37
Member (2009)
Latvian to English
+ ...
What language, anyway? Aug 13, 2016

@Sheila - Totally agree. It's also interesting to me that in many cases it's evidently the institution's responsibility to determine what language the non-English speaker speaks. As a telephone interpreter for Latvian/English, I've had numerous calls from the agency I work with where, after transferring to a hospital's agency and then to a hospital and then to an actual hospital room, it turns out that the non-English speaker does not speak Latvian. It might be Laotian, or it might not, but who knows?

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What language, anyway? Aug 15, 2016

Vi Pukite wrote:
It's also interesting to me that in many cases it's evidently the institution's responsibility to determine what language the non-English speaker speaks. As a telephone interpreter for Latvian/English, I've had numerous calls from the agency I work with where, after transferring to a hospital's agency and then to a hospital and then to an actual hospital room, it turns out that the non-English speaker does not speak Latvian. It might be Laotian, or it might not, but who knows?

Hmm... yes, that must be really annoying. A whole load of time wasted - no doubt unpaid. Fortunately, that isn't likely to happen with English but, if my editing work is anything to go by, many of those who claim to be English speakers won't say anything that I can understand. That must be a problem for interpreters, too.


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Vi Pukite  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:37
Member (2009)
Latvian to English
+ ...
Responsibility Aug 15, 2016

Actually, I am paid for that situation (I made sure of that in my contract). I meant to emphasize that I think it's rather bizarre that any and every hospital 1) has to be able to determine the language that any and every patient arriving on their doorstep speaks and 2) instantaneously provide an interpreter for whatever that language may be. Not easy tasks; in fact I'd say they're impossible. In my opinion the responsibility should be the non-English speaker's, at the absolute least to be able to provide the English name of the language.

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