How do I know what the interpreter said?

This Spanish-speaker had a medical appointment this morning, and an interpreter was here to help out. I gave the interpreter a medical consent form, written in Spanish, for the patient to sign.

After the appointment the nurse came out with the form and asked me to sign it as a witness to the signature. “I didn’t see her sign it. I gave the form to the interpreter”, says I.

“Did the interpreter explain the form to her?”, asks the nurse.

“I dunno. I don’t understand Spanish.”, says I. “And I don’t want to sign something I can’t even read.”

She goes away.

I don’t quite understand the context of all this, are you a doctor?

Then why did you give the patient a form in Spanish? Didn’t you know you would have to sign it?

As someone who has worked as an interpreter and with other interpreters, don’t trust the interpreter for anything other than interpreting, that includes paperwork like giving people things to sign. You need to be with the interpreter and tell them what to say to the other person.

It (or the English language version of ot, at least, which I CAN read) requires a hospital representative to sign as a witness to the patient’s signature. I just check em’ in. If I witness the signature, I sign. If the nurse does, she signs. But I didn’t.

On the English language form there is a signature line for the interpreter. I suppose because we don’t have copies in every possible language, only English and Spanish.

No one has ever explained what I’m supposed to do about forms I can’t read. I there was a signature line, printed in English on that form so I could read it, saying that a hospital rep should sign as a witness to the patient signature, then I would sign it. Or, the interpreter should have interpreted the form to ME and have me sign it, if he wouldn’t do so himself.

But I never saw the form again after I handed it to the interpreter, until the nurse showed up with it again after the appointment.

When I was signing as witness to a form that was being notarized, it was explained to me that I was witnessing the signature. I had no responsibility other than attesting that I witnessed the person sign it. I didn’t need to vouch for the identity of the signer, the Notary does that. I had no responsibility that the signer understood the content. This might vary with the document being witnessed. IANAL.