The Covid-19 outbreak has not stopped making headlines globally for the last few months, which is affecting how all businesses and individuals are interacting on a day-to-day basis. Like all other trades, professional interpreters are assessing the risks when it comes to onsite interpretation.
While onsite interpreters are at risk, they are still lifesavers in critical situations, so they would still need to work while maintaining social distancing and best hygiene practices. Those who work in sensitive or high-risk situations such as clinics, hospitals or other dense sites need to maintain additional hygiene practices and be extra cautious. Where practical, interpreters are asked to work by offering phone translation (telephone interpreting) services or video and web interpreting.
We would like to thank all our front liners, especially those who work in the medical sector to save lives and help contain the outbreak and save lives. While we mention these, we would also like to extend our gratefulness to all the medical interpreters who have been working alongside doctors and other medical professionals to help control the epidemic. Professional medical interpreters may be particularly vulnerable, but they have been working tirelessly to help the community and those who are feeling sick yet cannot express their symptoms or complications due to language barriers.
At Speak Your Language, we understand that professional interpreters are highly trained with the language skills, and they might also receive additional training related to special terminology, so we do not expect medical interpreters to have received in-depth training in infection control or industrial safety principles. We try our best and abide by the best practices to ensure that if we have to offer onsite interpreting services, our staff will be safe while being on duty, in order to face the challenging times while being proactive about prevention.
With many events and meetings being cancelled during the outbreak in Australia, some NAATI interpreters are asked to fill critical in-person interpreting duties. It is important to weigh your options and always try and opt for phone interpreters or video interpreters where possible.
If you cannot, then ensure you are ticking all the boxes and requirements so that everyone can stay safe. Always collect the contact details of interpreters who complete any onsite job, so you can contact them back if they have been close to a confirmed Covid-19 case, unless everyone at your workplace is using the CovidSafe app provided by the Australian Government. Make sure that interpreters and everyone on site is practicing social distancing and following best hygiene practices.
If you are unable to host onsite face-to-face interpreters for any reason, consider discussing your requirements with a translation and interpreting agency, as technology has much evolved with remote interpreting services to allow it to almost replace face-to-face interpreting via a range of options including over-the-phone and video interpreting, which have seen a massive increase lately as the technology to use them becomes more widespread. At Speak Your Language, we implement the latest technology available to ensure our customers get the best remote interpreting services available in Australia, using a wide network of professional interpreters.
Remember that the symptoms of coronavirus are similar to those of the flu, so ensure you do not get confused and always get tested if you have any mild symptoms, to ensure everyone is safe.
And do not forget to maintain best hygiene practices: wash your hands, do not touch your face, and sneeze into your elbows or sleeve.
Medical interpreters should also consider wearing medical masks and using gloves and gowns while working, but specific PPE requirements depend on the hospital and the situation.
Nobody knows yet how long the coronavirus will be disrupting our day-to-day routines across the world, but in the interim, if you are looking for medical interpreters, whether onsite or remote, talk to the team at Speak Your Language for affordable interpreting services.