There are many things you can do to help the progress of promoting the medical interpreter profession. We must continue to advocate for comprehensive health reform that will include the qualification and certification of medical interpreters across the country to guarantee patients equitable health care. Below are a variety of steps which you can take NOW to help keep up the momentum.
Advocate for National Medical Interpreter Certification
If you are interested in learning more about medical interpreter certification, please go to our website section and review the information there. You cannot advocate for something you are not very knowledgeable about. The bottom line is that there are many health care professionals that are being trained and tested to interpret but who are ill prepared for the task at hand. There is great responsibility and a very specific set of skills required in order to interpret medical information accurately. Are you able to discuss this and give examples to your patients and the public at large? Do they understand that the simple error of interpreting ‘gall bladder’ as ‘bladder’ is a serious mistake that could have adverse health consequences to the patient and provider?
Spread the Word:
1) About the Association
Spread the word to other interpreters and help grow our community. This organization is only as strong as its size and membership. If we want to be heard as a constituency, we need first to unite and become a constituency.
2) About the Profession
There is still much misinformation about this profession. For example, many think that medical interpreting is a new profession. It is a specialization of a very old profession, as interpreters were needed ever since two groups who spoke different languages converged.
3) About Patients Rights
Do you see the right to be understood as a patient right? Did you know that access to health services is an International Patient’s Right? Federal and state laws protect our citizens against discrimination and any organization that receives federal funding must provide language services to their patients.
Your contributions help our efforts in many ways. Each step we take in all our promotion efforts, such as press releases, newsletters, the legislative process, and others, takes time, funding and human work hours to achieve. From organizing rallies to distributing outreach materials, your support makes it possible to continue our work in advocating for the medical interpreting profession. To contribute please go to http://www.imiaweb.org/members/donate.asp
There is so much you can do to spread the word by spreading the many links, webpages, and documents posted on www.imiaweb.org. Not everyone is going to go to our website, so send them the documents that might be relevant to their interests by email, fax, or snail mail. Help us disseminate the materials and the information that is already available on the website to help promote medical interpreting. Unfortunately many cannot enforce performance guidelines and standards they are not aware of so help them out and spread the word. There are also other websites and links with valuable information to help promote the standards already in existence.
Share your Stories
We want to hear your stories (without identifying the hospitals or private patient information) about how your patients or others in your community who lack language access health care are getting by or not. With your permission, we will share these personal stories with legislators and the media. To share a story please email email@example.com
© 2013, International Medical Interpreters Association
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