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!”
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”
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”
Hey, guys! I’m on my way out of the hospital, and on my way out of the Language Services Supervisor position I’ve held for the last few years. Over the years I’ve learned a lot, through leadership training and experience, and I’m sharing here a few points for your consideration if you find yourself in the tough position of being a new leader. The especially tough part of it is that usually you’ve been promoted from an interpreter position to a supervisor position, but the learning curve is so rough at first, it sure doesn’t feel like a promotion. These tips come from my experience supervising interpreters, but could probably be applied to many fields.
Spend time with the people you supervise or manage: I’m kind of a loner. I have a tendency to isolate myself. When I was an interpreter, that didn’t matter much. But it matters a lot when you’re supervising people. For introverts like me, you have to make a conscious effort to get up from your desk and talk to people. Build relationships with them. It will be easier for you to give them feedback, and easier for them to approach you if they’re struggling with something. For people who really thrive spending time with others, the challenge will be to maintain professional boundaries and not over-share. Continue reading “Boss Moves”
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”
In 2012, my Language Services Department filled over 72,000 requests for on-site interpreters in 62 different languages! Our number one has always been Spanish, and American Sign Language comes in at number three. Indy has a large Burmese refugee population, and three Burmese languages round out our top five requested languages.
In a recent conversation with a good friend, he asked, “So, how’s work?” He asked because he has witnessed my struggle through the transition from interpreter to supervisor of interpreters. It has been rough. Like anything else, there was a learning curve. My answer to his question offered a moment of self-awareness: I’m over the learning curve. Not done learning, but done with the roughest time, on the level part of the curve, where the “curve” looks more like a horizontal line. I actually know what I’m doing. I can catch my breath. And it occurred to me that I might offer something to other former interpreters who are now leading interpreters who used to be their peers. Continue reading “From Peer to Leader: An Interpreter’s Tale”