Communicating
Effectively with an
Interpreter
Interpreter Language
Services
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(University Hospital)
Navajo Interpreter:
Spanish Interpreters
Vietnamese Interpreter:
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As an interpreter, my heart is
with the patient. I interpret
what the patient feels and
where he is coming from. But
my mind is with the provider
– where their knowledge,
wisdom and scientific value
are and that is how I
interpret.
What is the
Interpreter
Role
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Conduit

Exactly (meaning)
Clarifier

Understanding
Cultural Broker

Cultural Beliefs,
illnesses
Advocate

Directs patients
Interpreter Language
Services
Modes of Interpretation
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Consecutive
 Speakerinterpretation
Simultaneous
 Same time the
speaker is speaking
Sight
 Reading a document
 English to Spanish
Summarization
Language Barriers
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Language Barriers:
 Cultural
Misunderstanding
 Complex Medical
Terminology
Circumstances Requiring
Interpreter Services
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Medical History
Consents
Diagnosis
Patient’s
Conferences
Explain procedures
& its risks
Reason why not to use
Family Members
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Confidentiality
Conflict of interest
Medical Terminology
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Use of minors should be
avoided

Patient may decline

Hospital staff should
document in medical
record

Doctor may ask
interpreter to stay
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act

The U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services Office for Civil Rights
(OCR) requires all recipients of federal
funds to comply with the Title VI of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964. Compliance
prohibits discrimination based on
race or national origin, such as failing
to provide effective methods of
communication between EnglishSpeaking staff and patients with
limited English proficiency
Communicating Effectively
through an Interpreter

Speak Directly to the patient
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Speak at even pace
Pause often
Avoid:
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You are not rude and will not hurt the interpreter’s
feelings
Slang
Technical Language
Complicated sentence structure
Asking multiple question at one time
Cutting off patient or Interpreters response
Be patient
Suggestions:


Pay attention to
body language,
the same way you
would with an
English-speaking
patient
A picture is worth
100 words!

Use diagrams or
drawings
Interpreter/Language
Services
272-5399
M-F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
When an on-site interpreter is
not available, after hours, and
weekends, please call Phone
Line: Pacific Interpreters
1-800-272-7442
Pacific Interpreters:
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1-800-272-7442
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Use speaker phone
Dial 800 number
Access Code
Language
Patient’s Name, MR #
Supervisor/Charge
Nurse knows access
code.
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Role of Interpreter