Tell us something about yourself:
Hello, translator and interpreter friends from the “Professional Translators and Interpreters” Facebook page.
My name is Walid Nitestanyakit. I am 24 years old. I have been working as an English-Thai interpreter at Chiang Mai-Ram Hospital in Chiang Mai for two years. I have a Bachelor of Arts Programme in English degree from the Liberal Arts Department of Mae Fah Luang University. Most subjects in the curriculum focus on writing and literature, including in-depth language principles, but I personally like medical science, plus having friends studying medicine gives me the opportunity to learn some medical terms from them.
Tell us what you do:
I used to work as a freelance translator and I have an English language degree so becoming an interpreter who specializes in the medical field is not that difficult for me. However, it is important to understand hospital protocols when working as a hospital interpreter. You also need to know medical terminologies ranging from preliminary symptoms, names of diseases, names of treatments, names of medical equipment to names of medicines.
This year is my second year working in the hospital. This my first job after graduation and my first to work in a big organization. With this job, I have a chance to work with people from other professions such as doctors, nurses, nursing aides, radiation technicians as well as pharmacists. Hospital interpreters work on request basis, which means I will be called whenever any department needs an interpreter. Each department will request for an interpreter from the interpreter secretary department that arranges assignments for each interpreter. Apart from being an interpreter, I have to facilitate communication when there are patient complaints, coordinate things between third-party payors and patients or coordinate with insurance providers so that direct billing is used and patients do not have to pay directly out of their pockets. English-Thai hospital interpreters also act as a liaison between hospitals and foreign insurers. This can also mean my job is an overseas insurance specialist.
My most impressive experience:
The thing that impresses me the most is whenever I get into an examination room because patients and doctors requested an interpreter to assist with communication. My most impressive case was that for a psychiatrist, which took a long time to examine and diagnose a psychiatric disorder. This required me to listen thoroughly to the patient’s problems. Plus, the patient brought along a lawyer from abroad so it turned for me interpreting for a group communication. This case was the most challenging and impressive for me.
What makes the best interpreter?
I also did conference interpreting. I think the most important thing is to understand the needs of both parties and understanding the topics and having enough knowledge of the topic before doing the conference interpreting. Moreover, an interpreter has to be more confident when interpreting sentence by sentence for the conference to be successful. Therefore, the best practices to be a conference interpreter are:
1. Understanding and doing some research on the topics of the conference
2. Confidence and neutrality of the interpreter when performing the interpreting for both parties
3. Knowledge and aptitude of interpreter in the topics
In working as a hospital interpreter, the most important thing — aside from good translation — is empathy towards the patient, being service-minded and confidence in the information that the interpreter is going to deliver during interpreting. This makes the patients feel confident in the hospital and medical personnel. Moreover, the patients will have peace of mind and will not hesitate to come for treatments.
Since I am quite new in this professional interpreting field, I can say that having connections or having interpreters groups in Thailand is a good thing because this will allow interpreters to share information and experiences that will help other interpreters as well.
Last but not least
Finally, I would like to share my motto when working, which is “we are learning even we are working”. I don’t stop myself from learning new things. Interpreters don’t know what is going to happen next or what they are going to translate. Therefore, interpreters are advised to always be well-prepared and open-minded to accept new things through what they are going to translate.