Somewhere near the beginning of this semester, I took up swimming. A few lessons in, my teacher introduced the breast stroke. “Arms, legs, and gliiiide”, she told me. But I couldn’t get my arms and legs right for the glide. She told me the breast stroke is a resting stroke. But it was so effortful, just to move forward a tiny bit. My shoulders hurt. My neck hurt from holding up my head when I felt like I was pulling myself underwater so long I couldn’t come up for a breath. Continue reading “Swimming, Interpreting, and Reflexions On Experiential Learning”
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”
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”
We 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!”
I’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”
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.”
In 2012, I practiced alone and with a partner to prep for my state court exams. In 2015, I prepped the staff interpreters at my hospital Language Services department for their national certification exams. That same 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. Here’s what I’ve learned about feedback in interpreting practice, and how to make the best use of your time.
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”
Back when I was supervising my Language Services department, one of my responsibilities was overseeing our bilingual staff and interpreter approval program. Honestly? It wasn’t ever anything I wanted to be in charge of. But I thought it was important. I think it just made me uneasy in the beginning because I could never really pin anyone down to help guide me and answer my questions: Whose language should we evaluate? What should we evaluate? How do we know if they’re “proficient”? What does that mean? How do we evaluate language? Who can be an interpreter? What’s the difference between interpreters and bilingual staff? How do we come up with an evaluation process that people will actually use? Why do we evaluate them? How do we follow up? Essentially: How can we make sure that patients are getting what they need through effective communication when they’re being served by interpreters and bilingual staff?
I’ve got some basics here that may be helpful if you’re responsible for these kinds of things, or if you yourself are a bilingual person working in healthcare, wondering what it means to be an interpreter. Continue reading “Defining and Evaluating Bilingual Hospital Staff and Interpreters”
Certifying bodies and professional organizations! It’s not always clear who does what, so here’s a quick run-down of national certifying bodies and professional organizations:
National Board for Certified Medical Interpreters: One of two national certifying bodies that offers certification to interpreters who qualify. When you have this certification, you have to maintain it by attending educational events that are approved for Continuing Education (CEs). Accepts CEs from IMIA. Continue reading “Certifying Bodies and Professional Organizations for Healthcare Interpreters”
Managing the switch from on-site to remote interpreter services: Lessons learned from the hospital.
What do you think about telephonic interpreter services? Video remote interpreter services? Yeah, I know. Everyone wants an on-site interpreter. Any time I see an article about remote interpreter services, and I read the comments, I cringe. People are super mad about integrating the use of remote interpreter services into patient care. And I mean, all people. I’m disappointed that those people include interpreters. Continue reading “Remote Interpreters Need Love Too”