change, court interpreting, grad school, health care interpreting, interpreter life, interpreter services, leadership for interpreters, medical interpreting, new interpreters, self discovery for interpreters

“Getting It”: One Interpreter’s Reflections on Jonathan Downie’s Interpreters vs Machines

Known for his “troublesome” pushing back against the status quo, Dr Jonathan Downie structures Interpreters vs Machines: Can Interpreters Survive in an AI-Dominated World?— his second book — as a game, and invites us to play.

The robots are pretty cute, actually.

OK, I’m in.

He speaks from his experience as a researcher and conference interpreter, but from the beginning he brings us all into the fold– spoken and signed language interpreters in every setting. No matter where we’re working, we’d all do well to pause and reflect on how we understand and talk about our work. The fundamentals of what we do and how we talk about it to clients also seem relevant to my previous work in running an interpreter services department in the healthcare setting, where even though in theory, the services were required by law and hospital policy, in practice, we still very much had to sell interpreter services (even though the service came at no cost to the users!).

Continue reading ““Getting It”: One Interpreter’s Reflections on Jonathan Downie’s Interpreters vs Machines
court certification, court interpreting, grad school, health care interpreting, interpreter life, interpreter services, Interpreter Training, language access, leadership for interpreters, medical interpreting, new interpreters, Personal, self discovery for interpreters, teaching and training, working with interpreters

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Interpreter

As a freelance Spanish interpreter working in legal, court, and conference settings, my days vary. A lot.

Working from the booth, one of my favorite places to be!

A bit of background first: I’ve been in the freelance market for two years now, and it’s been three years since I finished my graduate work in interpreting. Before grad school, I worked as a staff interpreter and an interpreter services supervisor for about ten years. Before that, I worked as a subcontracted interpreter for an agency for a couple years while I was finishing my bachelor’s degree in Spanish, and for a while after I finished undergrad. So while I’m not new in interpreting, I’m still pretty new as a freelancer.

Continue reading “A Day in the Life of a Freelance Interpreter”
certification for healthcare interpreters, certification prep, conference interpreter training, court certification, grad school, health care interpreting, Interpreter Training, medical interpreting, new interpreters, oral exam preparation, supervising interpreters, teaching and training

The Interpreter and the Sandwich, or: Why Feedback Is Not About Your Feelings

Feedback forms from my work in this year’s co>lab interpreting intensive in Mexico City. These comments from colleagues are like nuggets of gold!

There’s a funny thing about feedback and interpreters. We all claim that when it comes to feedback: Tell it to us like it is! Don’t mince words! I can take it! Bring it on! As if feedback is this awful thing we must brace ourselves for.

I’ve (very generally) seen feedback divided into two main camps: We should be gentle in our feedback so that we protect the interpreter’s self esteem. Or, we should just tell it to them straight because this is the real world and clients aren’t going to handle them with such care. But there’s another approach that is considerate, yet straightforward: We should base our feedback on goals that are established by the interpreter so that it is useful. Continue reading “The Interpreter and the Sandwich, or: Why Feedback Is Not About Your Feelings”

change, health care interpreting, Interpreter Training, medical interpreting, new interpreters, self discovery for interpreters, teaching and training

Swimming, Interpreting, and Reflexions On Experiential Learning

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”

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”

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

Featured Post: 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 “Featured Post: Five Things Your Interpreter Wishes You Knew”

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!”

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.”

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.

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”