Medical interpretation ethics behoove the interpreter to adhere to their professional code of conduct at all times. This means that the medical interpreter (MI) is obligated to interpret everything said in the clinical encounter with the patient, including any differences of opinion, conflicts, and unpleasant interactions that may occur during the encounter. The MI is not there to censor the conversation or interpret selectively.
That being said, experienced interpreters may ‘call a time out’ and ask for a private conversation with the clinicians to offer their opinion about the best path forward to mitigate conflicts.
VJ Periyakoil, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine.
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