It can be a bit awkward to figure out how to best to optimally engage the medical interpreter (MI). Is the MI just the “voice” of the patient? Should they transmit only the verbal aspects? What about the nonverbal aspects of what the patient is saying?
For example, if the patient is depressed should the MI translate what the patient says with a depressed affect? Does that make the MI a method actor? Also, think about how emotion and social cues vary from culture to culture. For example, think about a highly volatile and emotional culture and contrast it with a restrained and “stiff upper lip” culture. Will depression present differently in these cultures?
VJ Periyakoil, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine. Tweet to us: @palliator