Why don’t more professionals demand quality interpreters?

I have been told by physical therapists that they prefer our services much better than the present interpreter with whom they are forced to work.  Why do they prefer us? Because our interpreters are always next to the patient, attentive, and ready to interpret. They tell me that the other interpreters tend to sit in the corner in a chair, playing on the phone or iPad. Supposedly these interpreters say, “Call me if you need me to interpret.” Needless to say, the therapists don’t bother to call unless it is absolutely necessary.

Two things drive me crazy about this. First, that kind of unprofessional conduct is bad for the reputation of my honorable industry.  I cannot fathom why they are working. Second, it drives me nuts that if the healthcare team recognizes this problem, why doesn’t it complain and demand better quality? How else will it ever come to the attention of those contracting the interpreters that they are hiring sub-par workers?  Perhaps the health care professionals are unaware of the proper authority to whom they should direct their complaints.

Case managers are responsible for coordinating care and arranging for interpreters. The healthcare professional can register a complaint with the case manager or the adjuster. Any medical facility that accepts workers’ compensation insurance must have adjuster information in order to bill.

When adjusters and case managers are informed of problems with interpreters, they can take appropriate action. I obviously am not afraid of this because I hold myself and my company to our industry’s ethical standards.

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