After spending last week in a Spanish hospital, I was reminded of the importance (and awesomeness) of some of my favourite language professionals, interpreters, and above all, those who specialise in medical interpreting.
First, I should say that I am in awe of all interpreters in general. If you've ever tried any kind of interpreting, it won't take long before you realise that it's exhausting and very mentally demanding. These professionals work incredibly hard and have an enviable set of language skills.
However, rather than talk about all interpreters today (who I respect greatly), I'd like to focus on medical interpreters.
Seeing doctors and being in hospital can often be a distressing, worrying, or generally negative experience because you don't often spend time with medical professionals when you're feeling great.
Of course, your whole experience of being in hospital and seeing doctors will be greatly worsened if you don't speak the language. This is where medical interpreters become heroes. Good news or bad, having it delivered in your language is so much more reassuring.
On top of the reassurance provided by medical interpreters, there's also the incredible level of professionalism required of them. Imagine having to interpret the dialogue between a doctor and a patient when it's not good news. Could you remain and react professionally knowing you have to break potentially life-changing news to a patient? I admit that I'd find it nearly impossible.
In terms of language professionals, medical interpreters are basically superheroes. They have the language skills that many language lovers yearn for, they're the tireless saviours of those in need of a helping hand, and they do all this while putting everybody before themselves.
You're awesome, medical interpreters! I salute you!