Training Resources for Medical Language Interpreters and Genetic Counselors
Research has shown that training greatly reduces the number of mistakes made by foreign language interpreters in a medical situation. This study investigates the hiring and training offered at interpreter service agencies serving seven hospitals within the state of Michigan. The study was centered around the medical field of genetic counseling and therefore also studied the training a genetic counseling student would get in graduate school on using a language interpreter in a genetic counseling appointment. Information was gathered through interviews and surveys done in person, by phone, or by email, within a three month period and the data were compared and contrasted to find similarities between training methods. It was concluded that all of the hospitals in Michigan with genetic counseling use trained professional interpreters. Therefore mistakes such as omissions, additions, condensations, substitutions, and role exchanges in the conversation should be lessened. It was also learned that the majority of the genetic counseling graduate programs in the United States have some form of training on using language interpreters, whether it be from a course in the curriculum, from a separate lecture, or from clinical experience. Therefore both parties should be trained in their roles in the genetic counselor (or facilitator), language interpreter, and patient situation when in an appointment. The genetic counseling appointment that uses a language interpreter should be more successful as a result of this training. Further research investigating interactions in genetic counseling appointments is needed to determine this success.
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