5 Interpreting Horror Stories

One wrong word and you can go from a normal situation to a disastrous one… 

Interpreter Training Boston advocates for the highest level of certification for all professional interpreters. We provide the training to enable students to confidently take these certification examinations so that they can provide the best interpreting services possible. Sadly this isn’t the case for every interpreter training agency, and often uncertified interpreter services can end disastrously such as in the following incidents.

Court Cases

The roughly $47,151 court case that was ended only a day into proceedings due to improper, and incorrect legal interpreting by the defendant’s interpreter.

The many cases in Great Britain where, due to a failed contract between the government and an interpreting firm; Applied Language Solutions, meant that many qualified court interpreters were not available for defense. This lead to misinterpretation in basic rights (the right to remain silent interpreted as please be quiet) to interpreters simply not appearing in court, and defendants getting charged.

Certified medical interpreter talking to a patient

Medical Cases

The horrific incident where Willie Ramirez, an 18 year old in Florida, became a quadriplegic after the lack of assistance from a certified medical interpreter when he was brought into the emergency room. Misinterpretations lead to the doctor believing he overdosed on drugs, and thus providing an incorrect treatment.

The case of a 10 month old girl who was given the wrong dosage of iron medication after a failure in communication between the doctors, pharmacy staff, and parents. The child became very ill and had to be rushed back to the emergency room.

President Barack Obama and a Sign Language Interpreter

Government Cases

Who could forget the recent debacle with the sign language interpreter for the Nelson Mandela memorial service? For hours the man interpreted for world leaders, including President Obama, only he wasn’t really interpreting. Comparisons between his signs and those of the South African provided interpreter, as well as testimonials from deaf government officials clearly show that most of the interpreting was false.

Interpreting is an extremely important and very exacting profession. Any error can, quite literally, ruin somebody’s life. The need for qualified and certified interpreters will only increase with globalization and the global surge of immigration. Thankfully there are plenty of uplifting stories that reaffirm the good work done by interpreters daily, and their necessity in today’s modern world!

Get the necessary training and practice in order to pass interpreter qualification exams with Language Connections' Medical Interpreter Training, Business & Community Interpreter Training, and Legal Interpreter Training Programs.

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