“Question in, question out:” language resource provision and communicative effort are paramount in moments of urgency and desperation

A guest blog post by Kaitlin E. Thomas, M.A.

"We live in a unique time when many communities are being forced to reevaluate the manner in which they administer services to demographics that present new linguistic and cultural challenges at an unprecedented rate. Too often the solution is to rely on tools that only serve to widen the gap by producing nonsensical text (a challenge for those with low or nonexistent literacy levels) or essentially belittle the patient by speaking “at” them rather than “with” them, or at worst, not speaking to them at all." 

Not competitors, but comrades

“When I know I’m interpreting for a cardiologist, I really like to go into the app to look for the most common sentences that might come up in a conversation between the doctor and the patient. I could use a dictionary, but you cannot translate word-for-word! You really need to understand the meaning of the sentence. The app does a really good job with that. I often find that the words in the app are much more appropriate to the greater meaning of what has to be communicated.”

Brandon Walker

"Today our planet is more diverse than ever. As healthcare professionals, we can expect to see an uptick in the need for language assistance for at least the next century, especially those who practice in urban settings or do healthcare work abroad. In an ideal world, every, every provider would have an interpreter on hand, but as our communities diversify and grow, this becomes both economically and logistically challenging."