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!

Interpreter Training

“That’s crazy”

BTG_assumptionsWhenever we hear others say something like, “Why do X people always Y?”, that’s a cue that there might be a breakdown in communication happening due to differences in culture.  For example, “Why do Hispanic patients always have two last names?”  “Why are these patients always late to their appointments?”  This can be an opportunity for an interpreter to bridge cultural gaps and provide a missing piece of the puzzle that can help make sense of it all.  To break down barriers to communication that exist because of differences in culture.

But first, we have to become aware of our own assumptions.  We have to pay attention to our own thoughts.  When listening to someone else, how many times have you thought to yourself, “That’s crazy.”  The truth is, every thing that every person says or does has a reason behind it.  As interpreters, it’s up to us to put our own assumptions aside and be open to asking questions that will lead us down the path of discovery that brings us to understanding.

As interpreters, our job is not to change beliefs or convince anyone that one way is better than another.  Our job is to provide enough cultural context so that the listener can understand without judging or being offended.

In the end, everyone has a story to tell.  And they have a right to tell it, in a language that’s understood by the listener, without judgement.

Interpreter Training, terminology

Terminology for Medical Interpreters

In my last post, I posed the question: What’s more important, interpreting skills or terminology?  I’m afraid  I left the impression that terminology isn’t important for interpreters.  But, wait!  Terminology is my happy place.  Words are my pals.  You’re reading the writing of one who used to skip class in highschool and escape to the library to read dictionaries and thesauri (sorry, Mom and Dad). Continue reading “Terminology for Medical Interpreters”

Interpreter Training, terminology


I teach a basic training for medical interpreters. Basic. Every single time I teach the class, the number one piece of feedback, by leaps and bounds, is that it would be nice to spend more time learning terminology in Spanish. Every. Single. Time.

And please don’t misunderstand the “basic” in “basic training” to mean “easy”. I push my students to the edge, and then bring them back (and you should know that my fancy teaching strategy for bringing them back is serving coffee and snacks). I spend as little time as I can teaching the what so I can leave as much time as possible teaching the howContinue reading “Blindsided”

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

Me and My Shadow

shadow-1548362Recently at work, I emailed an interpreter to say I’d  be shadowing her. Almost immediately I saw the flashing red light on my Blackberry:  “You’re shadowing me?  I think I’m nervous!” Really?!  Who’s nervous about lil’ ole’ me shadowing her work? Oh, OK. So, just ’cause I’m a good sport, and wouldn’t ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself, I offered, “How about if we shadow each other?  It’ll be fun!” I never heard back, and I put the shadowing date on our calendars.

Why was this seasoned interpreter nervous to be shadowed by me? I started to get nervous myself. Is there something that should make me nervous about being shadowed that I don’t know about yet? Continue reading “Me and My Shadow”

Interpreter Training, medical interpreting, new interpreters

What happens in the hospital, stays in the hospital.

stethoscope-1427015You’ve seen those commercials for Las Vegas, right? What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas? It’s kinda the same in the hospital. Aside from that, I’ll let you draw your own parallels between Vegas and the hospital (the flashing lights, the noise, the altered mental states) but for now let’s explore privacy. Continue reading “What happens in the hospital, stays in the hospital.”