Just like in healthcare, pharmacies play a big role in helping patients improve their health. However, language barriers often make it a bit more difficult for limited English proficient (LEP), meaning they speak English “less than very well” and are entitled to assistance, patients and customers. When entering a pharmacy, it’s important for customers and patients to ask important questions such as how to take it or any side effects that may occur.  As pharmacies serve increasingly diverse populations, the demand for language access is becoming more important than ever.


The Center for Immigration Studies reports that one in five Americans (65 million people) speaks a language other than English at home in the United States. Just over 40 percent of these individuals are considered LEP. This LEP group represents about 9 percent of the total U.S. population. When language barriers occur, this can pose serious health risks or confusion to LEP customers. This can result in not having a good understanding of their medication instructions. 


Today, we will discuss a few ways language access can help pharmacists overcome a few of these language barriers. 


Improving Health Education

If you are prescribed medicine from your physician, being able to understand a pharmacist’s instructions is a basic requirement for health literacy. It is crucial for a pharmacy to be able to translate labels, questions or concerns into multiple languages to ensure customers will understand them. Translation services can also apply to patient instructions, warnings, package inserts, signage, and consumer medication information leaflets.

Some pharmacies even require a bilingual staff who can serve as in-person interpreters at the pharmacy. However, other pharmacies use professional video remote interpreting (VRI) or over the phone interpretation services to bridge any language gaps. 

Improves Customer Relationships

When you are able to understand your customers, it instantly improves the relationships. In any healthcare situation, especially in pharmacies, it is imperative that customers and patients can fully understand what they are being prescribed. By having an on-demand interpreter available, it can also help customers fill their prescriptions quickly and get their questions answered. 

Following Regulations 

According to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act any pharmacy that delivers services while receiving federal funds (for example, Medicare and Medicaid) has to provide meaningful access to its services regardless of national origin. The act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. What this means is that pharmacies are required to provide LEP customers with access to a qualified interpreter and translated prescription labels and instructions.


A Few Things to Remember…


  1. Family members are not qualified interpreters
  2. Most Bilingual Employees Are Not Interpreters
  3. Boostlingo can help with any interpretation services. Check it out here:  https://www.boostlingo.com/


Soon enough, America’s future will be “majority, minority”. There will no longer be minority consumers, patients or clients by 2045 in the United States. But Why? 

Given the size and projected growth of multicultural groups in the United States as a larger part of the market, there has been careful consideration of the buying habits and needs of many multicultural people. Whether their buying your product, if your treating them as a patient, or if they are a client of yours, businesses should consider the multicultural habits, as well as the media and cultural preferences of these populations, it can benefit their business tremendously both now and in the future. 


What is culture? 


Culture is a combination of the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people. Characteristics such as language, traditions and different customs linked to religion, music and art. Language is without a doubt linked to culture. An interpreter needs to have knowledge and understanding of both to communicate across cultures. The close relationship between mankind and language makes translation and interpretation the greatest tool for worldwide understanding of one another. 


Today, we’ll be sharing three things interpreters should consider when it comes to understanding different cultures. 


  • Exposure to the language in a variety of situations is a good place to start.

Having the opportunity to work in another country, or around another culture can provide insight into cultural norms and provide terminology can could be challenging when interpreting. Knowing the language will not just do the job of interpreting, it’s important to know the lingo and ways of the culture to better help interpret to your clients. 


  • Interpreters need to be familiar with both business and social settings.

In business and social settings, it is important to know the difference between the two. When interpreting for one business to the other, you should know the practice of the business in each culture and how the operate. When interpreting in a social setting, a good starting point is to know what topics of conversation are taboo in that culture. 


Professional interpreters should know more than just the language they are interpreting. They must know the culture. They also need to commit themselves to an ongoing process of learning, so they can be up to date with current events and can act accordingly when working with cultures that may be sensitive to certain words, phrases or delivery methods.


We wanted to say THANK YOU to all our interpreters for their participation in Boostlingo’s Webinar: Language Industry Trends and the Modern Remote Interpreter with Caroline Remer and Jasmin Gerwien.

It was a great success!

If you missed it, following you can find the link to the recorded webinar: https://youtu.be/ZfUdcFJHFAM

Also find here a link to get your HIPAA compliance certificate if you do not have one already or need to renew (they are valid for 2 years) : https://www.hipaatraining.com/login?ReturnUrl=%2ftraining

Here is what is coming up–so don’t miss out on another FREE webinar with Boostlingo! 

Please register for:

Behind the Scenes of CCHI’s First National Healthcare Interpreter Certification Summit with the Director herself! on Aug 20, 2019 11:00 AM PDT at:


Join us for this sneak peek of the Certification Commission for Healthcare’s first National Healthcare Interpreter Certification Summit!!! Natalya Mytareva, Director of CCHI will be with us to tell us some inside track details of what will be happening at this 10-year anniversary summit.

This is a great way to stay on top of the latest trends in healthcare interpreting from the leaders themselves and learn more about participating in this unique and one time event both in person or virtually. We look forward to meeting you soon!

Learn more about CCHI and their 10-year anniversary Summit here: http://cchicertification.org/10-years/summit/

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.