If Medical Interpreters Wore Body Cameras

video camera

These days it seems like there are audio-video recording devices everywhere. Security cameras. Mobile devices. Traffic cameras. City busses. School busses. Baby monitors. You name it.

It got me to thinking. What if medical interpreters wore body cameras? What would the world learn about the work of a medical interpreter?

I think it could be eye-opening for many people.

  • I didn’t realize how much patience interpreters need to have.
  • I didn’t realize the variety of medical encounters that interpreters experience.
  • I didn’t realize how complex facilitating communication can be.
  • I didn’t realize the skill in tact, poise, and discreteness that interpreters use.
  • I didn’t realize how busy the interpreters are – so many appointments!

I think it could inspire individuals to pursue a career in medical interpreting.

  • You really get to use your language skills in a dynamic way every day.
  • You get to learn so many new things.
  • You get to meet so many interesting people.
  • You get to experience the impact and consequences of your work immediately.
  • You get to make a positive and lasting difference in people’s lives.

I think it could help more people see how interpreters benefit everyone.

  • I’m glad that an outbreak was contained due to effective communication.
  • I’m glad the 911 operator was able to give life-saving instructions to the [insert language]-speaking caller who responded to motor vehicle accident. 
  • I’m glad that effective communication results in healthier operating budgets.
  • I’m glad healthcare systems are able to live out their mission to ensure healthy communities.

To be clear, medical interpreters don’t, can’t, won’t, and shouldn’t wear body cameras. I guess we’ll have to continue using other means to demonstrate the awesomeness of the work of medical interpreters. Let’s continue to employ those means so that the value of medical interpreting is duly recognized and to ensure that our numbers continue to grow.

To be extremely clear, I am not advocating or even suggesting that medical interpreters should wear body cams or any other recording device. Quite the opposite. Keep the recording devices off and far away. 

Besides, audio-video cameras would still fall short of documenting the truly impressive brainpower that interpreters skillfully and artfully employ.  

Posted on December 30, 2016 and filed under Interpreter, Manager, Newbie, Trainer.