Our Impact

A medical interpreter’s training, knowledge, and cultural sensitivity removes emotional bias and helps reduce the trauma and anxiety of the situation. Their expertise helps build trust between the patient and their family and their physicians or care team. And because they help improve compliance with prescription and treatment plans, medical interpreters also help reduce the risk for more extended hospital stays and adverse outcomes and, therefore, help reduce the cost of care and the risk of litigation.

Approximately 1 in 10 working adults in the United States has limited English-language proficiency. And roughly 15% of American adults age 18+ (more than 37.5 million people) have some difficulty hearing. For these millions of people, visiting a healthcare provider and not having access to a professional medical interpreter is like receiving skydiving instruction in a foreign language.

The use of medical interpreters in encounters with healthcare providers improves compliance and clinical outcomes and reduces disparities in access to quality healthcare services. It is also the law. Part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other subsequent legislation, require providers who receive federal funds to offer “meaningful access” to healthcare services so that patients can make informed decisions regarding their treatment.

Many healthcare providers, though, provide interpreter services through informal or ad hoc means. They rely on a staff member or a member of the patient’s family to translate and answer questions about potentially complex diagnoses or procedures. This means there is a risk that important details are left out or misunderstood, leading to potentially hazardous consequences.