The right to health has been enshrined in international and regional human rights treaties as well as national constitutions all over the world. As a matter of fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) constitution enshrines the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being.
In this age of international travelling and migration for career and business reasons, it is not surprising that foreign health experts with different language backgrounds are hired in foreign health institutions. It is also not surprising that many individuals and families settle in countries where their national languages are not spoken. Because healthcare is a fundamental human right, the language barrier should never prohibit the provision of healthcare regardless of the language a patient speaks. The language factor can also not impede on the acquisition of rare and sought after medical skills. In order to mitigate the impact language barrier may have on the delivery of quality healthcare; interpreters are now sought after in many health institutions.
Hospital interpreters use their skill in English and a foreign language to provide invaluable services to patients and doctors alike. Interpreters also help healthcare providers to develop a better understanding of the patients’ cultural background and how it may influence healthcare decisions.
This interpreter assistance is given during admissions, examinations, consultations, procedures and many other provider-patient encounters. These interpretation professionals encourage direct communication between the provider and patient and repeat each utterance completely and accurately in the language of the listener.
It is clear to see from the above that the efforts of hospital interpreters ensure that undeserved patients have equal access to healthcare regardless of language background, immigrant status or ability. A world of opportunities certainly exist in hospitals, nursing homes and long term care facilities, surgical centers, physician offices and group practices, dental offices, home healthcare agencies and mental health facilities.