Spotlight On: Volunteer Interpreters

Volunteer interpreters may not be the first role that comes to mind when you think of a medical clinic, but interpreters make up one-quarter of our volunteer program and play a critical role in AFC’s everyday operations.

Not only do they provide communication assistance for our more than 1,100 Spanish-speaking patients, but they also serve as a support system for culturally competent care. Over the past three years, they have flexibly supported our appointments in every way imaginable – via video call from home (and at times, abroad!); over the phone when patients’ spotty internet connections made video impossible; and in-person under N95 masks. They have been willing to adapt to transition after transition to ensure our patients get the high-quality care they deserve.

Most of our volunteer interpreters are not professionals – they are bilingual members of our community who want to use their skills to help others. This makes their abilities even more impressive as they interpret for everything from discharge instructions to primary care appointments to specialties like gynecology, dermatology, neurology, and gastroenterology. The amount of terminology they must learn and retain is seemingly endless! We are agradecido for their dedication and commitment to our mission.