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About Medical Interpreting 關於醫療傳譯

Updated: Jan 28

Medical interpreting is one significant type of community interpretating. A qualified medical interpreter or health care interpreter requires professional training, high language proficiency, and in-depth knowledge in medical terminology. S/he should also abide by code of ethics.


The Importance of Professional Medical Interpreter

Medical interpreter act as an intermediary between patients, doctors, and/or clinicians in a healthcare setting. Accuracy is essential in medical interpreting and medical translation. Any communication errors can lead to serious negative consequences towards patients' lives and health. The way medical interpreter transmits message has impacts on medical decisions. Therefore, it is not a service that any laymen with bilingual abilities or patients' family could do.

The Need for Professional Medical Interpreters

Untrained family or interpreters may mistranslate health care related terminology, and thus, fail to explain treatments, or discuss the medical history with patients. Untrained interpreters may make mistakes in their rendition including omission, addition, condensation, and substitution. They may even mistakenly assume a role of a medical staff. These acts worsen communication because both medical staff and patients, instead of hearing what each other says, only hears what the interpreter chooses to tell them, which may lead to exclusion from the decision-making process, resulting in inaccurate assessment and treatment decisions. Therefore, medical interpreters with specific skills and training can significantly avoid such problems.

Good doctor-patient relationship

An ideal doctor-patient relationship is built on communication in which the doctor can ask effective questions and listen to the patient's words. Different questioning styles can achieve different effects on relationships and create power-differential between doctors and patients. The use of leading questions and open questions can increase the participation of patients in the decision-making process. Only if the medical interaction encourages symmetrical and collaborative relationships can successful communication and medical provision be achieved.

The role of medical interpreters

Medical interpreters are inevitably involved in the relationship of health care providers and patients. The interpreters should interpret the patients’ utterance faithfully and accurately using the first-person perspective and give the doctor the chance to perform his/her duty. The interpreter gives equal respect to both parties and allows the doctor to take the initiative. Medical interpreters should improve the doctor-patient communication with their services.

2 Interpreting approach in medical setting

1. Direct Approach

It is an approach that the interpreter renders the conversation accurately. However, it does not mean to interpret word for word like a “translating machine”. In fact, interpreters have to bring out the intention behind the words spoken by the doctors and patients.

2. Mediated Approach

In this approach, the interpreter plays a decisive role to decide what to interpret and what to omit from the content spoken by the doctor and patient, like a “gatekeeper”.

3. Which approach would be better for the doctors and their patients?

In the case of the direct approach, the consultation is directed by the doctor, who asks the patient questions. The patient has the right to decide what to answer and how to answer. Through this interaction, a relationship is built up between the doctor and the patient.

The mediated approach is often adopted by untrained interpreters, who can help to save the doctor’s time by omitting irrelevant information and facilitate the patient’s understanding by adding information. However, the doctor and patient will have less interaction.

Working as a team

Interpreters and medical practitioners are equal professionals and should work as a team to achieve optimal results. On the other hand, patients should be informed of their right to be heard by speaking through the interpreter.

關於醫療傳譯

醫療傳譯是社區傳譯的重要服務之一。合資格的醫療傳譯員需經過專業培訓,具備良好語言能力和醫藥專業知識,熟悉相關術語,並遵守職業道德準則。



專業醫療翻譯的重要性

醫療傳譯員作為患者、醫生,和臨床醫生之間的一道橋樑,提供準確無誤的醫學翻譯極為重要。醫療翻譯失誤可能導致醫療事故,對患者的生命和健康構成危險。醫療傳譯員傳遞的資訊對醫療過程起了關鍵作用。因此,即使患者家屬或一般傳譯員具有雙語能力,亦不代表能擔任醫療傳譯工作。


專業醫療傳譯員的需求

未經過專業培訓的患者家屬和傳譯員會出現誤譯醫學術語的情況,無法向患者解釋治療方法和難以詢問過去病史。此外,未經訓練的傳譯員不時會刪減、增加、整合、改動對話內容,甚至扮演醫療人員的角色。由於患者及醫療人員並沒有直接對話,只能聽取經傳譯員過濾的訊息,或令雙方在作出決定時被排除在外,導致漏診和誤診。因此,接受過專業傳譯技巧及醫學術語培訓的醫療傳譯員可大大避免醫療翻譯失誤的問題。


良好的醫生與患者關係

理想的醫患關係取決於有效的溝通,即醫生是否能夠提出有效的問題或聆聽患者的需要。不同類型的問題對醫患關係的權力分配產生不同程度的影響。使用引導性問題使患者處於被動以及排除患者在決策過程中的參與。使用開放式問題可以增加患者的參與程度,並建立醫生與患者之間互相信任的關係。只有平等的醫患關係才能在醫療過程中達到有效的溝通及提供使人滿意的醫療服務。

醫療口譯員的角色

醫療傳譯員不可避免地成為醫患關係中的一環。傳譯人員應忠實並準確以第一人稱傳遞患者的話語,使醫生能夠履行其職責。傳譯員對醫生以及患者雙方抱有尊重,並由醫生掌握主動權。醫療傳譯員應以傳譯服務改善醫生與病人之間的溝通。

二 醫療環境中的傳譯方法

1. 直接傳譯

直接傳譯要求傳譯員準確無誤地輪流翻譯醫生和病人的對話。不過,這並不代表傳譯員要像翻譯機一樣生硬地譯出每一個字,而是要把醫生和病人背後想說的意思準確地譯出來。

2. 調解傳譯

調解傳譯,顧名思意就是傳譯員好像調解員一樣主導整個會面。傳譯員聽取醫生和病人的說話內容後決定翻譯甚麼、忽略甚麼內容。

3. 兩種方法各有甚麼好處呢?

採取直接傳譯的話,整個會面就會由醫生主導,向病人發問。而病人亦保有權利去決定回答甚麼、怎樣回答。透過這種互動,醫生和病人才能建立起關係。

未經訓練的傳譯員大多採用調解傳譯,可以節省醫生的看病時間,因為傳譯員可以篩選有用的內容作傳譯;而病人亦更容易理解醫生的意思,因為傳譯員可以補充醫生說的內容,解釋難以理解的內容。可是這樣的話醫生和病人的互動就大大減少了。

團隊合作

傳譯員和醫療人員都是專業工作,他們應互相分工合作以達至最佳傳譯效果。同時,傳譯員亦應向患者解釋他擁有透過傳譯員表逹自己的權利。


Prepared by:

CHAN Ka Yin Christy

LO Man Man Anita

CHO Mak Irene

HO Dong Qing Michelle


Edited by:

Dr. Janice Pan


Reference:

Hale, S. B. (2007). Interdisciplinarity: Community Interpreting in the Medical Context. In Community interpreting (pp. 34-63). Hampshire: Palgrave McMillan. doi:https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230593442_3

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