Rochester Post-Bulletin Examines Language Services Mayo Clinic Provides
The Rochester Post-Bulletin on Saturday examined the Mayo Clinic's use of interpreters, a "critical but often overlooked link in the chain of care." The Rochester, Minn.-based health system offers interpretation services in 23 different languages and has 78 interpreters. The health system has provided language services since the 1930s, according to the Post-Bulletin.
While Spanish, Arabic and Somali are the most commonly interpreted languages at Mayo, clinic interpreters also speak Turkish, Russian, Japanese, Laotian, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Dinka, a Sudanese language.
Interpreters need to be neutral, accurate and proficient, according to the Post-Bulletin. They must only interpret what is said and accurately convey doctors' instructions to patients, such as the amount of a certain medication, and must understand medical terminology.
"A lot of people don't realize that it is a profession," Jane Hughes, supervisor of the language department at Mayo Clinic, said. "We just don't take people off the street because they're bilingual and throw them into a job," she added (Stolle, Rochester Post-Bulletin, 1/31).