Using an Interpreter in Your Dental Office | American Dental Association

Using an interpreter in your dental office

Dental offices may be required to provide trained interpreters for non-English speaking patients. Dental offices that are subject to regulation under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, as well as certain instances under the American’s with Disabilities Act, may require a practice to look for interpreter or translation services.

Top 7 tips for working effectively with an interpreter:

  1. Provide the interpreter with a brief explanation of what you are need to achieve during the conversation with your non-English proficient patient.
  2. If you are with your patient, speak directly to them and make eye contact while you speak even though you’re waiting for the interpreter to interpret.
  3. Use short but complete phrases. Remember, the interpreter needs to process two languages.
  4. Speak in the first person.
  5. Avoid slang, jargon or metaphors.
  6. Allow the interpreter to clarify linguistic and cultural issues.
  7. Be patient! It may take some time, but the clear communication you are able to achieve will be worth it.

Curious about what language potential patients in your state may need? Find out the top ten languages used in your state.

This information was provided courtesy of CyraCom Interpretation services. CyraCom, whose interpreters complete 120-hour certification courses and specialize in healthcare interpreting, including a focus on dental terms, is endorsed by ADA Business Resources. More information may be found online or by calling 844.737.0781.