Communication in a foreign language

In the world of globalization, we should be cautious while travelling to other countries.

You might merely misunderstand someone because of the language barrier. Some translation errors can even cost you your life.

The same happened to Willie Ramirez who didn’t know a word in English when he was admitted to a hospital in Florida. The communication between a patient and his doctor was challenging. The doctor couldn’t understand a boy, so he asked his staff who spoke Spanish to help him out. So, they translated the Spanish word “intoxicado” which actually means “poisoned” as “intoxicated.” Thus, the doctor thought Willie had drugs overdose and didn’t help him.

William’s parents took legal action against a medical doctor for malpractice. It cost Florida hospital $71 million. The boy survived but became a quadriplegic.

The interpretation mistakes with huge consequences known as ‘human errors’ killed another patient in Dania. The Norwegian man tried to explain that he was hemophiliac and could die because of hemorrhage. The day before the Norwegian was struck in the head. The doctors mistranslated the term “hemophiliac” as “homosexual” and didn’t help him. As they stated: ”his orientation is not a problem, there is no remedy for that.” The man died two days later.

Communication in a foreign language is tricky. As history shows, it can be very dangerous sometimes. Stay healthy and find more exciting stories about translation mistakes in the infographic.

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