By: The Wellington Team | Published: December 13, 2011
Every day the Platinum Medical Centre welcomes patients from all over the world, and our medical interpreters ensure the effective communication between our doctors and consultants, and our international patients.
These medically trained linguists have the responsibility to guarantee that both the patient and the clinician understand each other perfectly.
Rashid El-Sheik works as an Arabic interpreter at the Platinum Medical Centre. He joined The Wellington Hospital over five years ago where he first worked as a contract interpreter, and then later at the Portland Hospital, in the Paediatric Rehabilitation Unit.
A man of gentle manners, exceptional education and experience, Mr Rashid El-Sheik has a degree in International Relations, a Diploma in Political Economy and a Masters in Cultural Policy Management.
TWHBlog: Tell us about your professional background and how you came to work at The Wellington?
RS: Before joining HCA as an interpreter, I worked as a retail store manager and decided to change my trajectory completely when I started to work as a free-lance interpreter with several newspapers. Later on I did textual translation for BBC Arabic, and then worked for the United Arab Emirates Health Office as an interpreter for two and half years. Other projects included working for the Petrie Museum at UCL, where I ran the educational collection dedicated to Sudan and Egypt.
TWHBlog: What skills do you need to work as a medical interpreter?
RS: Knowledge of both languages and a good command of medical terminology; but the most important thing is a pro-active frame of mind. Many patients come thousands of miles away from their homes. You need to know the patient’s culture and try to make them feel comfortable in order to understand and convey with what they want. It is also important to explain any cultural differences to the practitioners.
TWHBlog: What does your role entail?
RS: In an outpatient setting the role extends from interpreting, to arranging appointments, or liaising with embassies. It is a very diverse profession.
TWHBlog: What are the responsibilities of a medical Interpreter?
RS: There is no international body that regulates this profession. You are an interpreter, but you also need to use psychology to assess each patient’s ways. For example it’s important to take into account the patient’s body language – it can provide you with a lot of information. The medical interpretation needs to be precise, and the correct information has to be given to both the doctor and the patient.
TWHBlog: What do you enjoy the most about working with patients?
RS: You feel satisfied when the task has been done properly and your interventions provide patient satisfaction.
TWHBlog: If you were not an interpreter, what would you be?
RS: More than anything else I can picture myself as a teacher or a lecturer. I would like to teach social science in general; that is my main interest.
I enjoy taking an idea, presenting it to people and helping them understand it. I feel quite satisfied with that.