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Translation Cloud Takes on the Language Gap in Hospitals by Offering Video Remote Interpretation Services

More than 46 million people in the United States do not speak English as their primary language, yet everyone needs medical care at one point or another. However, most hospitals are not equipped to provide adequate interpreting services for their patients. Even with having bilingual personnel on staff, there is no reasonable measure that can be taken to ensure every language is accounted for, leaving the hospital and its patients in a language-gap scenario. This language-gap can end up having serious consequences through miscommunication, which can not only result in a lack of proper treatment, but could also even lead to potentially fatal medical-related mishaps.

As this issue becomes a growing concern with the increase of non-native English speaking citizens, many health care organizations rely solely on the patient’s family members or friends to help communicate between the patient and the doctor. However, this situation is not ideal, as there are no guarantees that the family members or friends are fluent enough to understand and/or translate the medical jargon accurately. Also, oftentimes the patient may not be fully forthcoming with their medical history, as they may not want to share some personal information with their friends or family members. This could lead to complications down the line for both the doctor and the patient.

So why aren’t interpreting services more prevalent in hospitals? For one thing, interpreters can be quite costly, especially since hospitals would need multiple language interpreters on hand at all times. Since there is no way of knowing which language the arriving patients will speak, the only solution would be to have multiple interpreters waiting on standby. Naturally, many healthcare facilities and hospitals do not want to shoulder the financial burden of keeping multiple language interpreters on hand. For these reasons, many doctors and healthcare facilities are looking toward more cost-effective and efficient solutions. Translation Cloud (, a long-standing company in the translation services field, has met this need head on by offering face-to-face interpreting solutions via live-streaming video remote interpretation (VRI). As part of their healthcare interpreting service initiative, hospitals that sign up to their program are sent custom iPads that come installed with an easy to use app. When doctors are in need of an interpreter, they simply tap on Translation Cloud’s app, choose the language they need, and are connected directly to a professional interpreter right on the iPad screen.

“We wanted to offer healthcare providers interpreting services that were all inclusive and easy to use right off the bat. That’s why we decided on VRI utilizing the iPad platform as a base. This way, doctors could easily carry the device around from room to room, and have immediate interpreting services available should they need it,” says Alex Buran, CEO of Translation Cloud. Healthcare mistranslations are a major cause for concern to both patients and doctors, and could lead not only to serious medical issues for the patient, but significant medical malpractice lawsuits for the hospitals. “Interpretation services for hospitals are not just a luxury anymore. They are a requirement,” Alex Buran goes on to say. “With the latest technical developments available, the small expenditure put forth by hospitals for VRI services pales in comparison to millions of dollars at stake for the hospitals, and the health and well-being of their patients.”

For example, in one recent high-profile case a 3-year-old girl was admitted to the emergency room with abdominal pain. Since her family did not speak any English, treatment was delayed for several hours while the hospital located someone to help interpret. As a result, her appendicitis perforated and caused peritonitis, which required infection treatment and a 30-day hospitalization. In another case, a hospital resident was used to help interpret between a Spanish patient and the doctor. However, the hospital resident, while fluent in Spanish, was not a native Spanish speaker. As a result, he misinterpreted the colloquial Spanish phrase, “se pegó” as that the child patient was hit by someone else, instead of that she hit herself (when she fell off her tricycle). As a result, her sibling was incorrectly placed in child protective custody for a month due to suspected child abuse by the parents.

In a similar case of misunderstanding with much more dire consequences, an 18-year old Willie Ramirez was rushed to the hospital after experiencing intense pain in his head, and falling in and out of consciousness. By the time he got to the hospital, he was already in a comatose state and the doctors turned to his family to find out what had happened. In an attempt to help explain the situation, they used the Spanish word “intoxicado”, which in Cuba means there’s something wrong because of something someone ate or drank, and has no relation to the English word “intoxicated”. The doctor mistook the situation for a drug or alcohol related event, treated him accordingly, and transferred Willie to the ICU to allow him to recover. However, Willie’s problem had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. He was actually suffering from a misdiagnosed intracerebellar hemorrhage that continued to bleed for more than two days as he lay unconscious in the ICU. Since no neuro consult was ordered for two days, significant damage continued to occur. Only after an attendee noticed symptoms of a neurological disorder was a CAT scan ordered, the hemorrhage diagnosed and a surgery performed. As a result, Willie ended up quadriplegic. Due to the misunderstanding, the hospital was forced to pay out $71 million in damages to Willie Ramirez.

These are just some of the examples that happen every day all across the U.S. That is why translation companies with proven track-records like Translation Cloud are stepping up to the plate. “We take what we do very seriously, and that is why all of our interpreters not only sign strict confidentiality agreements, but we also only utilize interpreters with pre-screened medical backgrounds to ensure the highest quality translations for this field,” Alex states. “We know what’s at stake and we put our reputations on the line, so we only use the best qualified translators in the field.”

With companies like Translation Cloud equipping hospitals with the tools they need, hopefully language gaps and the devastation they cause will become a thing of the past. To find out more about Translation Cloud’s VRI services, you can visit

1980 Orange Tree Lane, Suite 250 � Redlands, CA 92374 � (909) 792-6110 � FAX (909) 792-4771