Reflections: Using a Second Language to Build a Practice

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Abstract

The US Census Bureau reports that 20.7% of Americans speak a language other than English. This is an opportunity of otolaryngologists to build their practice on a second language. This Reflections piece reviews my personal experiences of using my language fluency in Chinese to build a practice in Philadelphia. Through translating office documents, networking with Chinese-speaking physicians, and volunteering at the free clinic in Chinatown, I was able to serve this non-English-speaking community. Although there are translator services in the hospital, there are terms that get lost in translation and cultural norms that outsiders may not understand. I encourage the otolaryngology community to celebrate its diversity and increase access to our specialty for non-English-speaking patients.

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