conference interpreter training, grad school, Interpreter Training, new interpreters, oral exam preparation

The Interpreter and the Salami

salami-technique.pngIn my grad school training, one of the techniques we learned was called “the salami”. If you ask an interpreter trainer about it, you might hear some why-do-we-call-it-salami-when-we-already-have-a-perfectly-good-name-for-it-which-is-segmentation grumbling. The salami technique, or the technique formerly known as segmentation, is tough to articulate.

Here I present to you some specific, language-neutral examples that bring the salami technique (including the rhetorical question) to life. Continue reading “The Interpreter and the Salami”

conference interpreter training, grad school, Interpreter Training, new interpreters, self discovery for interpreters

Yes, conference interpreting is a thing

A view from the training booth!

During grad school, when I was living in Toronto and constantly traveling back and forth between the US and Canada, I got used to this question as the customs agent saw the student visa in my passport: What are you studying? It took me a while to come up with a short answer, because when I said, “conference interpreting”, I was just met with more questions about what conference interpreting actually is, as if I’d made it up. Continue reading “Yes, conference interpreting is a thing”

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”

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, 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, certification prep, court certification, health care interpreting, Interpreter Training, medical interpreting, oral exam preparation

Oral Exam Prep for Interpreters

get out your red pens, it's test prep time!
Get out your red pens, it’s test prep time!

Last month the Language Services crew at the academic health center where I work started prep for CCHI’s oral exam, which they’re planning to take at the end of July.  We started by prepping for the biggest part of the test, consecutive interpreting.  We’ve also done some prep with simultaneous interpreting.  I’m sharing here how we’re getting ready!  This is the method I learned when prepping for my state court oral exam, and then we used this same method in some of my grad school courses. Here’s what you’ll need:

Texts: Dialogues (for consecutive) or monologues (for simultaneous), and audio recordings of the same dialogues (or monologues).

Recording device: You can download one free on your smartphone, or use a digital recorder. You can try on your browser, or download Audacity to your computer. Continue reading “Oral Exam Prep for Interpreters”

health care interpreting, Interpreter Training, medical interpreting, terminology

2015 Events for Healthcare Interpreters

I hope to see you this year!
I hope to see you this year!

Do you have 40 hours of formal training for medical interpreters?  If not, why not make 2015 the year to do it?  Many hospitals (including the one where I work) require that anyone serving as an interpreter have at least 40 hours of training.  Training makes you more comfortable and competent doing the job, and ultimately results in a better, safer experience for the people you serve.  So how about it?  If you’re in my neck of the woods, you can join me for Bridging the Gap in Indianapolis this April and May.  Check out location, pricing and course description here.

I’ve also got the registration page up for the very popular Medical Terminology for Interpreters all-day workshop.  I recommend that you have a 40 hour training under your belt for this one, but it’s not required.  I’m partnering again with my friends at LUNA Language Services in Indianapolis to offer this popular workshop.  You can look at the details, sign up, and pay online here.

I also wanted to make sure that you guys saw the save the date for the South Eastern Medical Interpreters Association conference that’s set for June 2015 in Louisville!  They hosted a couple of my workshops last year, and I had a great time with them.  You can check out their website and call for proposals here.  It looks like it’s going to be a great event!  If you go, I will see you there.

Please feel free to add links to other upcoming events in the comment section below!

certification for healthcare interpreters, health care interpreting, Interpreter Training, medical interpreting

Join me for two CEU-approved workshops!

just add coffee!
just add coffee!

Join me this fall in Louisville, KY for two CEU-approved workshops for trained healthcare interpreters!  The South Eastern Medical Interpreters Association will host two 90-minute workshops at the University of Louisville, Shelby Campus on Saturday, October 4th.

The first workshop, “The Other Interpreter Did It”, focuses on conflict resolution using the principles from our Code of Ethics.  The second workshop, “Interpreting in Mental Health Encounters: The Basics” gives us a foundation for working in the mental health setting.  Both workshops are language-neutral, so interpreters of all languages are invited to join us.  The fee for each workshop is $45, and you get a 20% discount with your SEMIA membership!  Check out the events tab on the SEMIA website for more details, and to register online.  Both workshops have been approved for CEUs through CCHI’s Continuing Education Accreditation Program.  I’m looking forward to a fun learning experience with you, my fellow interpreters!

certification for healthcare interpreters, health care interpreting, Interpreter Training, medical interpreting, new interpreters

Certificates and Certifications: Stop the Madness

The misunderstandings surrounding certification for interpreters reached a fever pitch in my world this week. The whole cloud of confusion surrounding translation and interpretation is nothing compared to the certification issue.

I’ve been having the usual blast I have teaching Bridging the Gap this week, and I’ve also been hearing the usual questions about being a Bridging the Gap certified interpreter after we finish the training.  Bridging the Gap certified? Nope.

CCHI cert selfie!
CCHI cert selfie!

When you take Bridging the Gap, or Medical Terminology for Interpreters, or any other training like that, at the end you receive a certificate of completion or a certificate of attendance.  You have to pass a written test at the end of BTG to demonstrate that you learned what I taught you from the curriculum, and then you get a certificate of completion. The certificate doesn’t ever expire. It’s simply proof that you attended a training, and maybe passed a test at the end–A test that evaluates your knowledge of the curriculum content of that specific training, but that does not attest that you’re competent to interpret, and does not attest to your language skills.

Continue reading “Certificates and Certifications: Stop the Madness”

certification for healthcare interpreters, Interpreter Training, terminology, Uncategorized

Summer of Interpreter Training!


This summer I’ve taught two 40-hour Bridging the Gap interpreter trainings (whew!) and I’m super excited to be teaching a medical terminology workshop for interpreters this Saturday! I looked at the roster today and was so happy to see names of friends, colleagues and former trainees. In the meantime, I’m working on a new post about visiting the RID conference that was in Indy last week. Hope everyone’s had a great summer!