certification for healthcare interpreters, certification prep, conference interpreter training, court certification, grad school, health care interpreting, Interpreter Training, medical interpreting, new interpreters, oral exam preparation, supervising interpreters, teaching and training

The Interpreter and the Sandwich, or: Why Feedback Is Not About Your Feelings

Feedback forms from my work in this year’s co>lab interpreting intensive in Mexico City. These comments from colleagues are like nuggets of gold!

There’s a funny thing about feedback and interpreters. We all claim that when it comes to feedback: Tell it to us like it is! Don’t mince words! I can take it! Bring it on! As if feedback is this awful thing we must brace ourselves for.

I’ve (very generally) seen feedback divided into two main camps: We should be gentle in our feedback so that we protect the interpreter’s self esteem. Or, we should just tell it to them straight because this is the real world and clients aren’t going to handle them with such care. But there’s another approach that is considerate, yet straightforward: We should base our feedback on goals that are established by the interpreter so that it is useful. Continue reading “The Interpreter and the Sandwich, or: Why Feedback Is Not About Your Feelings”

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”

change, health care interpreting, interpreter services, leadership for interpreters, medical interpreting, remote interpreting, supervising interpreters

Remote Interpreters Need Love Too

Love for ALL interpreters! How's about it, guys?
Love for ALL interpreters! How’s about it, guys? (stickers from www.loveyourtranslator.com)

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”

leadership for interpreters, supervising interpreters

Boss Moves

Love your interpreter, love your supervisor (we hope).
Love your interpreter, love your supervisor (we hope).

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”

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”