Today I have found a news item from Australia which I hope does not lessen peoples information about how sick they are. Titled Cancer prognoses lost in translation in Oncology news and written by David Brill it tells how they have researched and patients do not always get the full story infact the research shows that less than 50% of all translations were accurate enough.
What if you or your family member didn’t know how ill you were and didn’t follow up doctors appointments etc. it could be fatal. This research shows that it is a possibility due to translators either I guess by sympathising and trying to be nice or just not having the cognitive academic skills and linguistical knowledge to deliver the information.
“I give a very detailed explanation of what I am doing and sometimes the conversation between the interpreter and the patient is so short that I wonder what has been said because they can’t possibly have communicated everything that I have just said.” nurse at Coventry hospital
By using Two Can Talk within Claire Talk health professionals can overcome this as they can communicate exactly what they need to say in this sensitive situation. It is clear to them if the patient doesn’t understand and they can use appropriate words to get the information over rather than leaving it to a third party.
Sadly this story is all too similar to the story blogged recently where the patient had lost her baby and the nurse had explained what had happened, why it had happened and there was nothing that the mother could do and the translator just translated the baby is dead. This proved to be distressing for both the mum and nurse weeks after the event…Its just not humane, what we need to do is ensure healthcare professionals get the tools they need to do their job particularly if they need dual language tools and systems to cope with communication with all of their patients.
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Healthcare professionals can find out more about this oncology story here.
Uncomfortable truths about patients’ cancer prognoses are getting lost in translation, with interpreters commonly “softening” or even “blocking” the doctor’s words, Australian research finds.
The in-depth analysis of consults with non-English speaking patients found 50% of prognostic information given by oncologists was altered when being translated, even by professional interpreters.
Just under one-quarter (23%) of information was never translated at all, while 27% was translated with the message subtly altered— typically making the outlook sound brighter than it really was.
“We found many examples of both professional and family interpreters changing the doctor’s message, usually to soften the news and occasionally to hide a poor prognosis completely,” the Sydney researchers said.