August 15, 2010

By Ofer Tirosh

Spanish Medical Translation Provided by Full-time Hospital Translators in Nashville

In 2000, federal law required health care facilities to alert non-English speaking patients to the right to use language assistance, interpretation, and medical translation service. While these rights are extended, hospitals have since realized that they can save money by using Spanish translation for medical information about the patient, rather than performing a bunch of unnecessary tests and procedures to find out on their own. Medical translation service and interpretation has been on the rise in many metro areas. However, a very noteworthy and drastic increase in translation services has been in Nashville metro area hospitals in Tennessee.

Nashville hospitals have been using Spanish translators and Spanish translation service over the phone for Spanish speaking patients for a number of years. Until recently, there were only a few translators available. But as the number of Spanish speaking patients has grown to over 35,000 just for one hospital - Vanderbilt University Medical Center - Nashville hospitals have hired more Spanish translators as well as translators of other languages. According to the manager of interpreters at Vanderbilt, hospital administrators and doctors have realized that just because a family member can speak English, it does not mean they are able to provide accurate medical Spanish translation. Accuracy is very important with medical translation service, especially for emergencies, and when concerning a patient's medical history and current medications, which can directly affect prognosis, treatments and outcomes. Spanish translation is now provided solely by translators and professional translation services who work at the hospital specifically for Spanish to English translation for patients.

Medical Translation Service Becoming Standard in Health Care Industry

Spanish medical translation in Nashville hospitals is not the only translation service that has been needed. Arabic translation service has also greatly increased due to the rise in number of of Arabic speaking patients. According to Vanderbilt University Medical, there were only a few dozen Arabic language speaking patients in 2001, and that number grew to about 6,000 by 2009, and hospitals have hired Arabic translators to respond to this growth. Though Arabic to English translation is the second most frequently used medical translation service after Spanish, there are a considerable amount of other language translation services that are needed on at least a semi-regular basis for non-English speaking patients - and they aren't languages you would typically expect to need regular translation in Nashville hospitals. Medical Thai translation service is also frequently needed, as is a Laotian translation service and several other eastern languages like Kurdish translation, Burmese translation, Farsi translation, Vietnamese translation, and Somali translation. Currently, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has hired over 40 translators to work either full time or as needed for professional medical translation services, in addition to the 15 full time medical Spanish translators.

As Nashville continues to grow in population diversity, the translation and interpreters industry is expected to grow 30% in the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Dept. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is good news for everyone in the professional language translation service industry, as well as medical and hospital patients who can now receive proper care due to accurate professional medical translation service.

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