In addition to being able to communicate with patients and family who may be under stress due to a medical emergency or condition, medical interpreters and translators need to be fluent in a variety of languages. Here are a few of the factors contributing to the current high demand for medical interpreters.
1. There are more non-English speakers among Americans.
About 25 million Americans had poor English proficiency as of 2013, an increase of 80% from 1990. This amounts to nearly 8% of the country's overall population, or roughly 1 in 12 adults over the age of 5, who would require a medical translator when visiting a doctor or hospital.
2. Hospitals need more interpreters as a result of the increased rules for translation services.
Hospitals that receive federal funding and have sizable limited English proficiency (LEP) patient populations are required to provide qualified medical interpreters for those patients. To comply with these government guidelines and guarantee that LEP patients receive high-quality care, hospitals must significantly raise their staffing levels of medical interpreters.
3. When translators are used, medical errors and problems are less likely to occur.
Many LEP patients ask friends or relatives to translate for them, however since these interpreters are not trained, they may not be familiar with medical terminology and translation errors are possible.
4. More people are purchasing health insurance and visiting the doctor.
Because of government health care changes, more people are obtaining medical insurance, which contributes to the demand for medical interpreters. Due of the protections it provides, medical interpretation is frequently covered by Medicare and other insurance providers. The number of people signing up for medical insurance plans, including those with LEP, is anticipated to increase as long as the penalties for not having health insurance continue to rise.
5. Medical interpretation avoids expensive overtreatment.
The advantages of utilising medical interpreters are becoming recognised by insurance companies. Medical translators not only improve patient safety and care, they can also avoid over-treatment, which can save insurance companies money in the long run.
Medical interpreters usually work in medical facilities and in doctors' offices, but some are also able to conduct remote work through phone or video conference. By 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates an above-average 29% growth in the employment of interpreters and translators.