Acting as a cultural broker: how medical interpreters navigate the patient-provider relationship

The heart of Sergio Choy’s job as a medical interpreter is to capture the spirit of the message between patient and medical provider. “You hear things like, ‘I’m feeling a little blue today,’ in English, but not in other languages. You can’t feel a color in Spanish,” said Choy, who translates between English and Spanish, and says that many expressions are not easily translated from one language to another, especially those having to do with emotions. Choy, who loves this aspect of his job, works as a freelancer at Kim Tong Translation Services located in Little Canada, and does medical interpretation at Twin Cities health clinics. More than 200,000 people in Minnesota have limited English skills, according to the Migration Policy Institute, and the state government currently lists 3,500 active medical interpreters on its registry. Continue Reading