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5 Vital Tips to Follow for Interpretation Services in Crisis Situations

Street sign that says Hurricane coming, evacuate now!

The coronavirus pandemic brought healthcare interpretation to the forefront when hospitals had to scramble to provide vital care to patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). Some hospitals failed to deliver. That’s why it is so important to have a plan for interpretation solutions during a crisis situation. 

In a crisis, immediate action may be needed, and proper communication can literally save someone’s life. In today’s blog from Akorbi, we discuss five vital tips to follow for interpretation services during crisis situations.

Related Post: Benefits of Real-Time Interpretation Services

1. Remain Calm

Crisis situations are stressful. It’s crucial for interpreters to remain calm, even as something like a fire, hurricane, or earthquake is happening. Interpretation services are only effective when communication is clear. Interpreters must be able to hear and speak as clearly as possible, even if the world around them is raging. Especially in crisis situations, messages must be absolutely clear when it comes to telling rescuers where to search, knowing evacuation routes, or trying to assess someone’s injuries.

2. Utilize Various Interpretation Methods

Even if an interpreter at the site doesn’t know the first language of an area, interpretation services can use what’s called relay interpreting. This is where a pair of interpreters who share a common language work together to communicate between parties. For example, a rescue team from Spain renders aid to Turkish citizens who need help after an earthquake. A Spanish speaker who also knows English can talk to an English interpreter on the scene who knows both English and Turkish. That way, there is still some kind of basic communication between the Spanish rescue team and local residents.

3. Help Any Way You Can

Interpretation services in hard-hit areas can become emotional. Any set of extra hands is helpful when it comes to aiding people in a crisis situation. If you’re not on duty to interpret, help by passing out blankets or water. Assist in rescue operations if you’re able. Offer comfort to those who need it. Organizations that keep interpreters on hand for crisis situations can train these personnel on disaster relief protocols and efforts.

4. Tap Into Technology

Organizations don’t necessarily require on-site interpreters during a crisis. In fact, it might be safer to utilize remote interpretation through a smartphone or tablet. The only difficulty here is that the infrastructure must remain intact for these communication methods to work. If there is no way to get the transmission out of the area, in-person interpretation might be the best solution.

5. Train Emergency Dispatchers

In the United States, it’s vital to train emergency dispatchers on how to use remote interpretation services. The goal is to have an interpreter on the line within seconds of a call being made. The dispatcher can relay instructions to emergency responders through the same mode of communication. 

Related Post: Importance of Multilingual Support and Interpretation Services for Behavioral Health Sessions

Akorbi and Interpretation Services

Akorbi gives your company or organization a way to ensure ready access to in-person and remote interpretation services. We offer certified and qualified interpreters to be on call, or they can arrive at your site at a particular time. Contact Akorbi or call 1-877-4-AKORBI for more information about our interpretation services.

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