Maybe you will think we are exaggerating, but interpreters can really save lives. There are many cases where an interpreter was needed, but the clinics, business or legal service didn’t provide it and the results were tragic.
Thankfully, a lot of organizations and businesses are starting to understand the relevance of having an interpreter or a translator available for their customers. According to Aia Translations (2015), emergency services, such as 911, are including interpreters in their staff. For example, El Paso, Texas’s emergency department has frequent calls in Spanish and English, so their workers are required to speak both languages. This is happening in Europe too, because they have an emergency service when you dial 112 that attends you in Spanish, English, and other languages spoken nearby.
Check out these two situations where an interpreter was crucial but not provided:
1- The Po family case: Poulinna Po and her dad were from Cambodia and her dad only spoke their native language, which is Khmer. They moved to the United States and she used to serve as an interpreter for her dad. When Poulinna was 15 years old, her dad had diabetes and needed frequent visits to the doctor. But the daughter couldn’t translate everything perfectly and the man couldn’t understand how to take his medicine correctly.
Eventually, Mr. Po died from a brain tumor and complications from a stroke. Poulinna, who is 17 years old now, feels guilty for not being able to communicate effectively. Actually, these hospitals should have provided them a qualified interpreter (Huffpost, 2013).
2- The Garcia family case: Deisy Garcia was living with her husband and her two daughters in New York City, they were immigrants from Guatemala and didn’t speak English. Deisy’s husband had violent tendencies and she filed numerous reports to the police. She even said in one of these reports that he would kill her and her daughters if he wasn’t stopped. However, all the reports were written in Spanish and the police department never translated them.
Terribly and tragically, he ended up murdering her and her daughters because no one translated the reports. The state of New York now requires immediate translation or interpretation of reports from another language to English (Aia Translations, 2014).
Even though these two previous situations were awful, not everything is negative. We have a third case where an interpreter saved a life!:
Mario Arroyo and his wife, Carmen Gomez, were native Spanish speakers and expecting a baby, she was at 32 weeks. One day, they called 911 because of signs of labor. But sadly, their son ended up born at home within the amniotic sac.
They were worried and didn’t speak English well, so they called a foreign language interpretation service. Their interpreter, named Juan, was able to translate what this family was trying to tell the 911 workers. This allowed them to receive emergency help and treatment. And Juan also translated the medical information to the family in their native language (Yamazaki, 2022).
Finally, please consider developing a relationship with a language services provider like us with certified and trusted interpreters. You will never know when you need one in your business, or even in your day-to-day life!
We wish you a great month ahead! 🙂
Aia Translations. (2014). Lost in Translation: The Murder of Deisy Garcia. Retrieved from https://www.aiatranslations.com/post/lost-in-translation-the-murder-of-deisy-garcia
Aia Translations. (2015). More than words: How translators and interpreters are saving lives. Retrieved from https://www.aiatranslations.com/post/more-than-words-how-translators-and-interpreters-are-saving-lives
Huffpost. (2013). California Interpreter Bill Would Help Save Lives Lost In Translation. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/california-interpreter-bi_n_3785419
Yamazaki, K. (2022). How Emergency Interpretation Services Save Lives. Telelanguage. Retrieved from https://telelanguage.com/blog/emergency-interpretation/