Tech-friendly Interpreters

By Kat Jackson, Stratus Video VP of Language Operations

Video remote interpreters are trained to use video remote interpretation (VRI) technology, as it is a platform they work on each day. They have experience identifying issues with VRI technology and can offer potential solutions to medical providers using the application.

For example, if an ASL interpreter is having trouble seeing the full range of the Deaf patient’s hand movements, he may request that the physician reposition the angle of the device.

Video remote interpreters are also trained to use the whiteboard feature on some VRI platforms. The whiteboard allows the interpreter to type and display words on screen for further written clarification. This is particularly helpful to ensure enhanced understanding of long, complex, or industry specific terms such as medical jargon or prescription instructions. It is also helpful for Deaf patients who use written English as one of their communication methods or for non-native English speakers who are strong visual learners.

Video interpreters may also offer suggestions to ensure optimal audio quality. For example, if the interpreter suspects that poor audio quality is negatively impacting a patient-provider interaction, she may suggest that the provider adjust the speaker volume or the volume of the device itself.

The goal of the interpreter is to provide meaningful understanding for both patient and provider. The interpreter is dedicated to rendering the message from the source to target language accurately and completely. As part of the professional interpreter code of ethics, qualified medical interpreters are required to bring anything impacting the accuracy or effectiveness of the message to the attention of the provider.

If something arises that makes communication ineffective over VRI, such as poor hospital internet connectivity or a healthcare encounter that is inappropriate for VRI, such as a group therapy session, the interpreter will recommend that the healthcare provider request an onsite medical interpreter. If needed, the video interpreter may stay on video as a temporary solution until the onsite interpreter arrives.

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