Jacobs Journal of Community Medicine

Using a Competent Interpreter in Clinical Encounters to Prevent Human Suffering and Save Money

Published on: 2018-12-28


Due to the increase in the number of immigrants in the world over recent years, the number of interpreter-mediated consultations is constantly increasing. The purpose of this literature review was to highlight the importance of the interpreters’ competence in interpreter mediated clinical encounters. Misunderstanding in cross-lingual consultation may be rooted in a lack of knowledge of a language or diversities in cultural values between those involved in the consultation. Despite difficulties, an interpreter is the best opportunity to facilitate communication between healthcare professionals and patients who do not speak the same language in order to prevent clinical misunderstanding and provide satisfactory healthcare to patients with a language barrier. Improvement of interpreters’ competence is vital.


Human suffering; Chain of misunderstanding; lack of knowledge of the language