Translators in the Field:

Providing aid in many countries will require translators. Often your group is fortunate to have one or several individuals who speak the native dialect. This is a definite plus.

A couple points to be aware of with the use of translators:

You may notice, as I often have, when using translators during relief work, that dialogue between translator and patient is lengthy  and you feel you are missing some vital information which is not translated to you. Don’t get frustrated even though its easy to be sometimes. The translators will often say that much of the chatter with the patient was not important even though you may feel it is important. My recommendations:

1. Let the translator know if you feel you are missing something, and ask the question again until you get the type of answer you want.

2. HAVE PATIENCE!!!!!! HAVE PATIENCE!!! It’s easy to get a bit frustrated at times with translation services especially when there are large numbers of patients to be seen. But keep in mind that you are there to serve and help, and these translators are there to do the same.

3. Don’t get rushed!! It’s easy to do if you have a large number of patients. Take your time especially when using translators and addressing the pertinent issues on your exam with the patient.

4.  Most translators are usually paid by the agencies you will be working with, but in some cases, they may not be, and you might be expected to leave a tip or give payment.