Thing One: The matter of translation for health services. Last year, the NHS reportedly spent £23m on translators, which is roughly £64000 per day, if that number is easier to grasp. This involves translating information from a central library of literature, and translators for individual cases.
The argument is that local trusts should pool their resources to reduce the demands on the taxpayers’ purse in these times of austerity. If you read some of the comments below the piece, people are also debating the requirement of knowledge of English to a certain standard if patients are indeed to be treated on the NHS. It has been noted that it is not always the best idea for family members to act as translators, and that it is sometimes not the language but the terminology that forms the basis of the problem.
If I may be so pretentious as to throw my hat in the ring:
- Specialist translation will always be rather tricky, as translating jargon whilst retaining intact grammar could be treated as an art-form;
- As such, specialist translators will be required, meaning bi- or multilingual doctors and nurses who know not only their field of study in different languages, but also the standard operating procedures of different countries;
- A good idea that has been proposed, is leaflets where the medicine is explained in simpler terms for the general public to peruse; finally,
- Sign-language translators likely take up a portion of the fees, and it is difficult to argue with their necessity.
Some commenters suggest that people who need translation services ought to pay for those themselves, but somehow this does not seem to fit the purpose of the NHS quite right. Then again, is it simply another form of “we will diagnose your maladies, but you have to pay for the medicines yourself?”