New prescription: a handheld medical interpreting device

  • Article by: MEGAN NICOLAI , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 19, 2011 - 10:15 PM

A Duluth start-up company has a high-tech solution to language barriers that can be life-threatening.

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gatorsruleFeb. 21, 1110:53 AM

I've been watching this for a while, ever since they first tried selling this back in October of 2008. Every year they announce it as a new product that's just being introduced -- this is their third attempt. It hasn't done well in the market. In looking at their demo I can now see why. They're using the same approach as other firms have tried (e.g., LSI's SpeechTrans), and it simply doesn't work. What does work is instant translation of conversations. What doesn't work is their approach of going through layers of menu interfaces to eventually say, "my left ear hurts".

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andersonccmMar. 15, 1110:00 AM

While this device may have a limited place in the health care setting, I caution, that it will not replace a good qualified or certified medical interpreter. There are two many aspects to medical interpreting and cultural interactions that can't be done by any machine. Even over the phone interpreting has it's limitations due to cultural awareness and nuances to the process of interpreting.

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