For those of us who have tried, but have not quite perfected our medical Spanish, we rely on live interpreters or the assistance of apps such as Google Translate to communicate with our patients. A live interpreter is the ideal, but they are expensive and sometimes hard to coordinate which can delay patient care. Using an app to translate a few key words is fast, but far from fluid and can create a barrier between the patient and the physician. This new earpiece attempts to combine what works from both methods to enable two people speaking different languages to communicate directly. The earpiece is worn by two people and as each speaks the words are translated into the other’s language and transmitted via the earpiece.
The idea is certainly exciting, but medical terminology is complex and reliable, accurate translations are essential for proper patient care. While I might enjoy using this device for a casual conversation with someone speaking another language, I will continue to improve my Spanish skills and utilize our excellent medical interpreters, as needed.