Language, Health Care Pros Address Patients’ Needs at Houston Conference

By 11/02/2012 Uncategorized No Comments

More than 50 foreign language and communication leaders and international program team members recently convened for the first-ever International Language Services Conference to address topical issues in verbal and intercultural interpretation and translation in the health care setting. Houston-based MasterWord Services, Inc., a leading global provider of industry-specific language solutions, co-sponsored the interactive program with Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center at the hospital.  

“We had world-class presenters who went ‘beyond corporate business speak’ to give hands-on techniques and tools to health care and related field professionals who regularly interface with non-English speaking patients. Our mission is to help patients and their caregivers achieve the most reliable and positive medical outcomes possible,” said Mila Golovine, MasterWord Services founder and president.  

According to Edgar Antístenes Vesga-Arias, Director, International and Signature Services, Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center, the program included two presentations, Translation Skills: “Raising the Bar: Super-Charging Translation” and Interpreter Skills: “The Blurry Line: Intercultural Interpreting in Health Care,” followed by a panel discussion on “Sharing Best Practices for Successful Communication.” 

Representatives from such premier institutions as Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas Children’s Hospital, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, The Methodist Hospital, Harris Health System (formerly Harris County Hospital District), Houston Airport System, Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, UT Health Science Center, Scott & White Hospital, and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, among others, attended.

The first session focused on translation and the easy-to-implement techniques and tools that can be used either individually or in workgroups to help produce more consistent and reliable translations with faster turn-around times. Session II presenter, MasterWord Services Manager of Training and Assessments, Ryan Foley, a certified interpreter and translator, addressed the cultural as well as linguistic considerations that come into play in today’s increasingly diverse patient population. For doctors, nurses, and other specialists to deliver positive outcomes, they must be attuned to cultural and linguistic considerations, noted Foley. While medical professionals are receiving more cultural sensitivity training, the increasing use of interpreters demands that they be as adept with intercultural nuances as they are with language. Participants learned about the differences between generalities and stereotypes, the danger of reciprocity of perspective, and how to work within the role of an interpreter to aid providers in clearing cultural hurdles.

Vesga-Arias and Mary Esther Diaz, a noted translator and interpter trainer who serves as chair of the Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Translators and Interpreters in Texas, as well as a founding member of the Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators Association, discussed best practices for successful communication from the regulatory perspective, the hospital administration/patient-outcome in an increasingly regulated environment in which conflicts may arise between standards and loopholes, on a panel on “Sharing Best Practices for Successful Communication.”

Participants earned Electronic Certificate of Attendance for Continuing Education credits.