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, 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”

health care interpreting, medical interpreting, standards of practice for interpreters

The Good Interpreter

1The other day at work, a nice lady on the elevator saw my interpreter badge and asked me, “What kind of interpreter are you?” I get this question a lot, and clearly she was asking what language I spoke, but I couldn’t resist and told her “A good one”. We both laughed, and I told her, “No really, I’m a Spanish interpreter.” She laughed again (did she think that was a joke, too?) and *ding* I left her laughing in the elevator and went to my office to do what I do.

“A good interpreter.” I’m a good interpreter. It got me thinking, how do we know what a good interpreter is? What does a good interpreter do? What does *gasp* a bad interpreter do? Who says? Turns out, like everything else, it’s all a matter of perspective.  Continue reading “The Good Interpreter”

health care interpreting, medical interpreting, standards of practice for interpreters

Me, myself, and I: The magic of first person interpreting.

abstract-shape-1154530“When I started throwing up this morning, it was like, chunks of food mixed in with snot.  Yeah, like slimy, barfy food chunks.  And like, these little black specks mixed in,” I’m telling the triage nurse.  “But now I guess my stomach’s empty, ’cause the only thing that comes up now is this bitter clear stuff.”  I’m not telling the nurse about my vomit (thank heavens), I’m interpreting what the patient is saying to the nurse.  So, I’m saying what someone else said, but saying it as if it were me.  That’s the easiest way I know of to describe interpreting in the first person, and it’s the standard for professional interpreters.

When we train interpreters, I can really feel them digging their heels in on this one. Continue reading “Me, myself, and I: The magic of first person interpreting.”