health care interpreting, interpreter services, language access, medical interpreting, working with interpreters

Five Things Your Interpreter Wishes You Knew

Your interpreter wants a word with you!
Your interpreter would like a word with you.

Curious about what interpreters do?  Wondering how to best work with interpreters?  Here are some common misconceptions surrounding interpreters, and some helpful points to know about working with them!

Translators write and interpreters talk.  Although there are some professionals who do both interpreting and translating, the terms are not interchangeable.  If you’re speaking, you’re working with an interpreter.  Now you know. Continue reading “Five Things Your Interpreter Wishes You Knew”

health care interpreting, interpreter services, Interpreter Training, medical interpreting, new interpreters, standards of practice for interpreters

The Tenth Standard of Practice: Don’t Be Alone With the Patient

An empty waiting room and…

Just kidding. There is no tenth standard of practice, and there is no standard that explicitly states, “Don’t be alone with the patient.” But the way interpreters and interpreter trainers talk, you’d think there was. I am guilty of participating in the creating and reinforcing of this belief.

“Just DON’T do it,” I remember telling interpreter trainees back in 2009, when I was cutting my teeth as an interpreter trainer. “Don’t EVER be alone with the patient.” Continue reading “The Tenth Standard of Practice: Don’t Be Alone With the Patient”

Uncategorized

The New Girl, Again

colored-folders-1239719Hurrah!  You’ve finished your healthcare interpreter training and you’re ready to go out and work!  Here are some tips to get you started as an on-site interpreter, based on my second time around as a freelance interpreter.  (You can read my first New Girl post with more tips here.)

How do I get the work?  I’d recommend working with an agency.  They do all the leg work, and then pass on the assignments to sub contractors.  I think there’s another post to be written about how to tell a good agency from a bad one, but I wouldn’t work with anyone that doesn’t have a good reputation or who tried to get me to lower my rates, or who didn’t pay me on time.  Make sure when you apply to the agency, you’re accurately representing your qualifications.  If you took a training course for medical interpreters and received a certificate of completion, you’re a trained interpreter, not a certified interpreter.  If you’re confused about trained interpreter versus certified interpreter, you can check out this post that also has info about the certifying bodies. Continue reading “The New Girl, Again”

change, conference interpreter training, grad school, Interpreter Training, language fun, Personal

Everything I know about interpreting, I learned in the kitchen

Nearly twenty years ago, Untitled design(9)I moved back to the US from Costa Rica, and I dropped out of school with a handful of credits left to finish my BA.  I went straight to work in a restaurant.  I started waiting tables in this Italian place, and I was going to stash away all my tips until I had enough to go back to Costa Rica.  Turns out I hate waiting tables, but I wasn’t ready to leave the restaurant.  There was something happening in the kitchen that called to me.  I ended up working in the kitchen for years, until I decided I needed to go back to school and finish the semester’s worth of credits to earn my BA.

Something similar happened on my road to conference interpreting.  There was something going on in the kitchen (or the booth, rather) that I couldn’t ignore.  Just as in the kitchen, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I stepped into the booth.  It’s true: Everything I learned about interpreting, I learned in the kitchen. Continue reading “Everything I know about interpreting, I learned in the kitchen”

certification for healthcare interpreters, health care interpreting, leadership for interpreters, medical interpreting

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters, the Job Task Analysis, and You!

certification for healthcare interpretersWe all know the benefits of certification.  Some of us have already passed our exams, or are preparing for them.  But did you ever wonder where those exams come from?  How do they know what to include in the exams?  The certifying body (in this case, CCHI) starts by doing what’s called a Job Task Analysis (JTA) of healthcare interpreters all over the US.  Through surveys, the JTA identifies the current knowledge, skills and abilities needed to competently perform as a healthcare interpreter. At the end of the survey, the data is analyzed and published in a report that’s available to the public.  The CCHI’s first JTA was in 2010 and led to the development of its certification exam.  You can see the 2010 report here. Continue reading “The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters, the Job Task Analysis, and You!”

change, conference interpreter training, grad school, Personal

Back to the Booth

12309533_10153465986341865_8688022386764836542_oA trainer recently said about interpreting practice: You practice.  And then you do it again.  And again, and again, and again.  And when you’re tired of it, you do it some more.

When I first arrived to our interpreting lab in Toronto, I was in awe.  Fourteen brand-spankin’-new booths!  I could practice again and again, and then some more when I got tired of it!  All booths, all the time!

It didn’t take long for me to change my mind about the booth.  Continue reading “Back to the Booth”

certification for healthcare interpreters, certification prep, health care interpreting, medical interpreting, note taking, oral exam preparation

Note taking for Healthcare Interpreters

notepad-1240975-640x480I’ve taught note taking for healthcare interpreters to many people, and over the years I’ve developed my own system that for me is quite effective.  With note taking, the provider or patient can speak for longer without the interpreter interrupting to interpret.  You can be more accurate with the added memory support.  With note taking, you can feel more confident taking the consec portion of your oral exams for national certification.  There’s one trick though: You have to know how to take notes.

Here are some things to get you started, based on my experience as an interpreter and an interpreter trainer. Continue reading “Note taking for Healthcare Interpreters”

certification for healthcare interpreters, certification prep, court certification, health care interpreting, Interpreter Training, medical interpreter written exam prep for national certification, oral exam preparation

Feedback: Going Beyond “That Was Great”

Giving and receiving feedback is great when you know how!
Giving and receiving feedback is great when you know how!

Interpreting practice and feedback are important.  One of my grad school professors wrote an article about peer assessment that inspired me to write about my own experience.  Practice with a partner or in groups involves giving feedback to others, and in turn accepting others’ feedback.  It requires a lot of work from everyone involved.  It’s not just a matter of half-listening and then telling your practice partner, “Yeah, that was great.”

A few years ago, I practiced alone and with a partner to prep for my state court exams.  Last year, I prepped the staff interpreters at my hospital Language Services department for their national certification exams.  Last year, I prepped for my transition exams to be admitted to the second year of my graduate program, and then I passed my exit exams and graduated.  All that, thanks to great practice partners who took the time to work with me and give me the feedback I asked for!   Here’s what I’ve learned about feedback in interpreting practice, and how to make the best use of your time. Continue reading “Feedback: Going Beyond “That Was Great””

certification for healthcare interpreters, change, health care interpreting, interpreter services, medical interpreting

New Year’s Resolutions for Healthcare Interpreters

happy new year!Just starting out?  In a rut?  Wondering how to up your game as a healthcare interpreter in 2016?  Here are some ideas to get you started!

Learn about certifying bodies for healthcare interpreters:  In the US, you might be in a state that offers state-level certification.  For most of us though, the only certification available is on a national level.  Check out the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters and the National Board for Certified Medical Interpreters.  These are the only two national certifying bodies in the US.  The National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare (NCIHC) and the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) are professional organizations, NOT certifying bodies.  It’s important to understand the difference, especially if you’ve been certified.  If who does what is a bit murky to you, check out this short post that will clarify it. Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions for Healthcare Interpreters”

change, Personal, self discovery for interpreters

La Despedida (The Farewell)

IMG_3757At my first job as a staff interpreter, my colleagues would scold me because I would never saludar–say hello–at the beginning of the workday (I will just never be a morning person).  They’d also razz me because I’d never despedirme–say goodbye–at the end of the workday when I’d leave to go home.  I’d just slip out quietly, usually after a very tough and very busy day of healthcare interpreting.   La despedida–the goodbye, the farewell–has never been my strong suit.

Earlier this year, in July, I said my goodbyes to the house that I bought the summer I turned 30 and then rented out this summer–the summer I turned 40.  So many great (and not-so-great) parts of my life unfolded in that house, but I know that I can keep all those parts of my life and all those memories without still living in the house.  I don’t need the house.  Somebody else lives there now, but after I left I’d still catch myself just about to suggest dinner or drinks at my favorite neighborhood haunts.  But, I’m not there anymore.  Farewell, house.  Farewell, neighborhood.  Farewell, all the places where I met with friends, debriefed after a rough day, plotted and schemed, planned so many of my next moves–including grad school and my move to Toronto–over drinks. Continue reading “La Despedida (The Farewell)”