Read full article here
A very comprehensive article published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on language barriers in the medical field.
Some particularly impactful examples of mistranslation:
"One interpreter, mistranslating for a nurse practitioner, told the mother of a seven-year-old girl with otitis media to put (oral) amoxicillin “in the ears.”"
"In another case, a Spanish-speaking woman told a resident that her two-year-old had “hit herself” when she fell off her tricycle; the resident misinterpreted two words, understood the fracture to have resulted from abuse, and contacted the Department of Social Services (DSS). DSS sent a worker who, without an interpreter present, had the mother sign over custody of her two children."
This article is a few months old, but should not be forgotten as its message is of consequence. The number of Latino Doctors is not keeping pace with the population.
Capped hospital departmental budgets and the lack of reimbursement for interpretation services have slowed the incorporation of language access plans in healthcare....[This] poses the possibility of a catastrophic future that endangers the health and safety of language minority patients, the financial stability of healthcare facilities, and the overall quality of care in our ever-diversifying, multi-cultural country.
"One interpreter, mistranslating for a nurse practitioner, told the mother of a seven-year-old girl with otitis media to put (oral) amoxicillin “in the ears.”
"People in Cambodia experience what we Americans call depression. But there's no direct translation for the word "depression" in the Cambodian Khmer language. Instead, people may say thelea tdeuk ceut, which literally means "the water in my heart has fallen.”