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, language access, leadership for interpreters, medical interpreting, supervising interpreters

Defining and Evaluating Bilingual Hospital Staff and Interpreters

IMG_3830Back 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”

language access, leadership for interpreters

Delivering Bad News for Interpreters

Last year, I was doing some research to prepare for a workshop that I named, “How Much Do You Want To Know: Delivering Bad News for Interpreters”.  If you’re a medical interpreter, and/or if you’ve ever received really bad news in the hospital, you know what’s coming after the doctor says, “How much do you want to know?”  Well, maybe you don’t know what’s coming exactly, but you do know one thing:  It’s not going to be good news.  I wanted to develop a workshop that would prepare interpreters to interpret bad news.  So what’s the big deal with bad news? Continue reading “Delivering Bad News for Interpreters”