Workers' Comp

Specialty Solutions Spotlight: Translation, Transcription and Interpretation Services in Workers’ Comp

August 30, 2023

Nicole Usher

Sr. Director of Operations, Apricus, an Enlyte company

Why is translation one of the most requested and used services in workers’ comp?

According to a recent census report the number of people in the U.S. who spoke a language other than English at home nearly tripled from about 1 in 10 in 1980 to almost 1 in 5 in 2019 with Spanish being the most common non-English language. Given this, it’s not surprising that communication in multiple languages can play an important role in injured employee recovery.

Getting hurt on the job can be a very stressful time with lots of information coming from health care professionals as well as adjusters or case managers regarding a workers’ compensation claim. Adding in a language barrier can make communication nearly impossible, slowing recovery efforts, and ultimately lead to a frustrated injured employee. Apricus provides certified translators and interpreters to facilitate communication for many languages including American Sign Language. Native speakers offer a means to needed communication ensuring a smooth recovery process for the injured individual by giving them access to needed products and services in a language they can understand.

Translation is usually done in two forms. Either rewriting documents into a given dialect or translating a live call or office visit. Our translation service providers can translate over the phone, in person, or offline for documents, or can arrange a video conference, such as for sign-language translation. In addition, injured individuals needing on-site interpretation for repeated visits are often able to use the same provider for continuity. Translation services can be a crucial component in helping the injured individual, adjuster, and medical provider communicate efficiently regarding care.

When using translation services like an interpreter, all parties involved need to be in sync. It is important to set the tone at the beginning of the process. Follow these tips when preparing to work with an interpreter in workers’ comp:

Set Expectations in Advance: Discuss how long you expect the interpreter to work and agree on whether they will need breaks during the process. Review any key differences between the injured employee’s communication style and theirs, from mannerisms to sentence length.

Brief the Interpreter of Important Information: Knowing the topic or context ahead of time allows an interpreter to prepare for an assignment.

Recognize the Interpreter as a Neutral Party: An interpreter will not advocate for either party but will serve as a non-participatory go between who refrains from participating in the conversation outside of translating in the contracted conversation.

Avoid Interrupting: Interruptions can disrupt the natural flow of conversation and make the interpreter forget what they were saying. Critical information may be left unsaid during the appointment.

Speak Slowly: Slow down your speaking rate and leave a decent pause every couple of sentences.

Use Simple Language: Avoid complicated words and high-level vocabulary when possible. As well as metaphors, slang, idioms and other phrases that may be difficult to translate in another culture.

Educate Everyone Involved: Teach others who will be engaged with the interpreter how to speak during conversations to ensure that the process is effective and beneficial for all parties.

Translation requests also require a fair amount of coordination, especially as more people are involved. Getting everyone scheduled to meet at the same time can be tricky. And there is often an essential time component with translation because the injured employee’s treatment depends on receiving services promptly. The injured individual needs to be able to talk to their caregivers and vice versa.

As you can see, translation is highly requested for good reason, and is often critical to an employees’ timely recovery. Without it something as simple as scheduling a follow-up visit could turn into a delay in receiving needed care, impact recovery times, and ultimately affect overall costs and return to work. Working with Apricus ensures these services are coordinated and provided with the interest of the injured individual in mind.

This information is meant to serve as a general overview, and any specific questions should be fully reviewed with a health care professional or specialty service provider.

To make a referral for this service and others, call us today at 877.203.9899 or send an email to