Activity 16:Shadow a Translator/Interpreter



Shadow a translator/interpreter.
Students will learn about the role of a translator in patient/provider interactions.
Students will observe how the use of a translator affects the outcome of a visit.
Students will analyze the relationship between a translator and the provider, and its impact on the patient.
A hospital or clinic in which translators are employed.
Recommended Preparatory Reading:
Rachel Tribe and Aneta Tunariu. “Communication through interpreters in healthcare: ethical dilemmas arising from differences in class, culture, language, and power.” Sexual and Relationship Therapy 24.1 (2009): 74-84.
Why LWS Professional Medical Interpreters are Needed:
Job description, educational requirements, etc.  of medical translators:
Critical Thinking Chart Activity:
Start by making a chart of “what you know” about the duties of a medical translator and “what you want to know”. After completion of the activity, write down what you learned in comparison to the two other charts.
Time commitment: 2 hr 30 minutes
Students should allow 30 minutes for preparatory work (reading, watching video), 90 minutes for shadowing the translator/interpreter, and 30 minutes for reflection post-shadowing experience.
Appropriate for:
This activity is appropriate for advanced high school or undergraduate students preparing for a career in healthcare, students in health related professional schools, or any individual interested in pursuing a career in a health profession.

Activity Description:
You will be observing the role of a translator/interpreter in patient/provider interactions.
First, read the preparatory readings and watch the preparatory video. Take note of how these sources portray the use of translators in a healthcare setting. Consider your preconceptions about translators/interpreters and how they interact with patients and providers.
Second, contact a hospital or clinic that employs translators/interpreters. Set up a time to shadow with a translator/interpreter. While shadowing, take note of the following:
How providers interact with the translator/interpreter outside of the patient visit.
How providers interact with the translator/interpreter during the patient visit.
How patients interact with the translator/interpreter during the patient visit.
How did the interactions between the provider and the translator/interpreter affect the patient?
Did the provider accommodate the translator/interpreter at all by pausing and giving them time, checking with them to make sure they were speaking at an appropriate pace, using shorter phrases, etc.?
Does the provider and the translator/interpreter collaborate beforehand on cues, goals, procedures, etc.?
Once you have completed your shadowing experience, take 30 minutes to reflect. Consider the following questions:
How did your knowledge of the role of translators/interpreters in the healthcare setting change from before your shadowing experience to after?
Did anything surprise you about how providers and/or patients interacted with translators/interpreters?
In what ways can interactions, whether it be positive or negative, between the provider and the translator/interpreter affect the patient and their treatment?
If the provider is slowing down and using shorter phrases to accommodate the translator/interpreter, does it affect the overall treatment of the patient?
Could potential bias be introduced through the use of a translator/interpreter?
What kind of impact does having someone able to communicate with the patient there with the provider have on the patient’s overall well being?
What are some of the obstacles that a translator/interpreter may face?
When writing your reflection, do not just answer the questions. Reflect on your experience shadowing. Try to draw connections between what you observed and what you read and watched in the preparatory materials.

Authors: Sofia Evjen, Emma Valee, Caroline Jenkins, Sydney Lammers