Risks of Relying on Bilingual Employees for Interpreting


Depending on bilingual employees to provide interpretation services can have its risks. These risks include exposing confidential information and privacy concerns, which are particularly important in healthcare and social service settings. Professional interpreters are trained to comply with HIPAA guidelines and adhere to a code of ethics.

Qualitative data

When studying the risks of relying on bilingual employees to provide interpretation services, researchers must keep in mind that the translators’ perspectives and abilities will be influenced by the social context they are working in. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all translations are reviewed by an expert in the language in question.

Using interpreters to translate qualitative data is an excellent way to make sure that the data is not misinterpreted. Interpreters can help researchers understand research data and provide cultural background information. In addition, they can translate documents or interviews.

Signs of unprofessionalism

Employers who use bilingual employees for interpretation must carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of this practice. While bilingual employees can help in many situations, liability concerns can arise when they are asked to perform work outside their scope of responsibilities. For example, if a bilingual line supervisor is asked to interpret a sexual harassment prevention training program, she may not be able to verify the accuracy of the translation.

In addition to the risks of hiring a bilingual employee for interpretation, a bilingual employee is less likely to be familiar with the culture of the language. Although the employee may speak two languages fluently, this does not mean that she understands that culture’s traditions, beliefs, and even pop culture. If you plan on using a bilingual employee for interpretation, make sure they have specialized training in the field.

Privacy concerns

Employers need to be aware of the privacy concerns of relying on bilingual employees to provide interpretation services. These individuals may not be able to understand the requests and terminology of their clients and could potentially be vulnerable to the misuse of confidential and private information. Bilingual employees should be adequately trained to ensure a high level of proficiency and confidentiality.

Some employers have problems with privacy concerns when relying on bilingual staff to interpret patient medical records. HIPAA, the federal privacy act, has specific guidelines regarding the role of an interpreter in maintaining patient privacy. However, if a bilingual employee does not receive the appropriate training and education to interpret, they could violate the law. This can result in mistakes or lawsuits.

Lack of credentialing

When hiring bilingual employees, it is critical to verify language proficiency. In the U.S., approximately 40% of foreign-born adults have a high-school diploma or equivalent. However, if a bilingual employee has no credentialing, their job performance may be compromised. In addition to achieving proficiency in English, interpreters should have additional training in their target language and ethics.

While bilingual employees are an invaluable asset for healthcare organizations, it is critical that they are properly trained to provide accurate interpretation. As such, employers should develop an interpreter training program that keeps pace with the turnover rate of employees. This program should include a third-party assessment of employee language skills and knowledge. It should also include medical terminology training and a skills test. Those who don’t meet these standards may leave the company or even become dissatisfied.

Cost of hiring a professional interpreter

In some circumstances, a bilingual employee may be more cost-effective than hiring a professional interpreter. However, a bilingual employee may not have the necessary skills to adequately translate a medical document. This can create a security risk and expose sensitive patient information. Professional interpreters are trained and bound by ethical standards. They follow HIPAA guidelines and adhere to a code of ethics.

Hiring a professional interpreter can be an affordable way to make your business more efficient. Whether you need a simple conversation or more complicated conversations, a professional interpreter will provide accurate, reliable and professional interpreting services for your business. A conference call interpreter can handle a simple conversation, while an on-site interpreter is more likely to be able to handle more complex conversations. Hiring a professional interpreter is not an expensive investment, but it is a smart decision that will prevent you from suffering financial damage from misunderstandings.

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