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When Minutes Matter, You Can’t Afford to be Lost in Translation

On a recent visit to my doctor’s office, I observed something that I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to in the past:  When a nurse called the next patient back for her appointment, a young girl also stood up and explained that her mother didn’t speak English well and asked to accompany her to interpret.

I live right outside of Washington, D.C., which is fortunately a culturally diverse area so I am used to hearing different languages on a day-to-day basis.  I guess I never really considered the impact of not speaking English when it comes to seeking medical care.  Luckily, the example above, seemed like a routine office visit, but it got me thinking about what would happen in an emergency situation where seconds count.

Paras and Associates know this scenario all too well as they provide real-time language interpreters for healthcare environments using video collaboration. PAA’s service ensures that patients anywhere in the country, who speak any language, can gain access to high quality medical interpretation in an instant. Video communications has played a significant role in their practice and has significantly reduced “lost in translation” errors by allowing doctor, patient and interpreter to see each other’s faces. The power of video overcomes language barriers that can often be misinterpreted over the phone … and herein lies my passion.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Melinda Paras, PAA’s president and CEO.  Melinda is a veteran of the medical industry and saw a need to deliver a better “business outcome” to patients and medical staff.  In this case, the business outcome could mean the difference between life and death.

Video communications can have this kind of transformative effect on businesses in all industries. We work with our customers to ensure that the technology we implement helps them to transform their processes – whether that is providing better service, delivering products in a faster time-to-market, increasing revenue, or improving collaboration across an organization.  When we look at the medical industry, we often think of outcomes like providing better care, reaching a larger number of patients, increased access to specialists, etc. Yet there is one very basic benefit that is often overlooked and is perhaps one of the most critical, and that is the ability to be able to clearly communicate with a patient.

Paras and Associates has brought together the availability of healthcare language experts and real-time access – an invaluable service. But video is allowing them to introduce a more human element … at a time when we are perhaps at our most vulnerable. When it’s life and death, there’s no time to be lost in translation.

How can video be the solution to your lost-in-translation story?

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6 Comments.


  1. June 3, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Very valuable as well in the hospitality industry where many people with diverse linguistic skills require hotel staff services and they cannot understand one another

       1 like

    • Angie Mistretta

      Yes, another great application Rana. We are seeing similar usage in other verticals like judicial, finance/banking and more!

         0 likes

  2. hello , thanks for your post , I like cisco products they are the best in term of quality and support

    Great company

       0 likes

  3. It is not all about technology. It is about how you apply the technology.

    This is like applying technology “for” the mankind for the good of people. I have never seen before video conferencing so helpful when it matters!

       0 likes

    • Angie Mistretta

      Totally agree Ruby – application is key! And it is great to see technology making such a big difference.

         0 likes

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