Virtual interpretation services help make healthcare possible for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, when incorrect information was being circulatied and the number of people allowed in medical facilities had been minimized, video remote interpreting adapted to meet the demands of the changing world.
As this crisis evolves, interpreters are needed more than ever. People still need accurate, accessible information. Thoughtful application of online interpreting services is best suited to support the deaf community during times of transition. This applies first and foremost to translating in the medical field. There are standard practices for video remote interpreting, but there is also a need to innovate to anticipate challenges before they arise.
Video Remote Interpreting and Healthcare
When it comes to a hospital environment, it is imperative to understand diagnoses and specifics of procedure. Remote interpreting is central to the patient’s well-being and understanding life-changing implications. Many interpreters have been adjusting to working remotely as opposed to working at a site. With social distancing guidelines and policy changes, the people who might typically be at a clinic or hospital to help with interpretation may not be as readily available.
An online interpreter can use phone or video remote interpreting to join conversations with patients and doctors. It is important to note some patients do not have access to internet or technology that would allow then to do video chats from home. For those patients, interpreters join in on healthcare conversations over the phone. Hybrid solutions—with some participants engaging with conversation through video remote interpreting and some people physically present—have also been used to great effect.
The Future of Video Remote Interpreting
There was a time when not all medical professionals saw remote translation services as a matter of life and death. Some even believed an interpreter may slow down the work in their intense and fast-paced work environment. However, if the coronavirus outbreak has proven one thing, it is that interpretation can only enhance clarity of intent.
Barriers to communication are an obstacles to medical practitioners. These will only continue, because what we know about the coronavirus is constantly changing. If public officials highlight the inclusion of American Sign Language during their news briefings, it would underscore its importance. As the country moves forward, remote simultaneous interpretation needs to be incorporated by all media channels.