In the legal and medical field, it is not rare to receive phone calls from foreign-speaking clients with the help of their friends or family serving as interpreters for them. From a client’s perspective, opting to use a family member as an interpreter may seem like a good idea since it may be their only immediate choice, or they may be unfamiliar with the use of professional interpreters. Some prefer to use people close to them to help them feel reassured when confronting an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation. Although this method may also seem efficient by both parties, in allowing communication to occur promptly, it’s not advised as a long-term option. The following
are some possible problems both parties may encounter, with the use of family members or friends as interpreters.
Lack of Accuracy
The tendency of critical information being hidden is higher when family members are used as interpreters, since they may choose to omit certain parts of the message to protect the client. The client might also feel uncomfortable sharing private or personal information about their situation in the presence of family, and decide to keep it to themselves, not understanding the importance of being as honest as possible with the information given to doctors or lawyers.
preters are bound by a series of legal, moral and ethical principles they must follow; therefore, they are the safest option to use.
Lack of Neutrality
The reliability of the interpretation may also be compromised given the potential conflict of interest of the family member/friend. Since they may have personal and emotional attachments with the client, they can add their own advice or opinions in the matter, or end up hiding part of the message. In addition, family members could make light of a situation to the client to help soften the blow for them, leaving the client with an unrealistic result of the situation.
Lack of Fluency or Terminology
Friends and family interpreters are not professional interpreters, meaning they are not fluent in all of the legal, medical or technical terminology that professional interpreters are trained in. Although family members may know the language and culture of the client, professional interpretation is quite more complex than that. Having no training in medical or legal vocabularies will lead untrained interpreters to summarize messages and essentially confuse the client.
An easy solution to these common problems is to partner with us to provide you with certified interpreters and translators at your request. With more than 100 languages available, and trained interpreters in legal, medical or technical terminology, our goal is to provide you with the best service possible. Whether you need an interpreter on-site, or over the phone, we are glad to be at your service. Give us a call at (918)907-1335 or drop us a message here and we’ll get back to you promptly.