medical interpreting, new interpreters, terminology

Mouth Up and Mouth Down: Interpreting in Physical Therapy

weights-2-1495625-1280x960Hey, guys!  I’ve been on a roll lately taking agency jobs (after many years of not working for an agency), and many of them have been for physical therapy appointments.  As a full-time interpreter, I worked a lot with physical therapists, both in the inpatient and outpatient settings, and I forgot how cool the therapists are, and how tough the interpreting can be!  I’ve put together a short list of tips that might help if you’re preparing to interpret in physical therapy.

Open bay transparency: The interpreting I’ve been doing lately takes place in a big open room, where the therapist seeing the patient is interacting with other therapists and other patients (as opposed to having a conversation exclusively with just the one patient I’m assigned to).  In one case, my patient was chatting with another patient next to her–in Spanish.  Being transparent can be tough, but it can be done, and there’s not just one way to do it!  Continue reading “Mouth Up and Mouth Down: Interpreting in Physical Therapy”

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, certification prep, health care interpreting, medical interpreter written exam prep for national certification, medical interpreting, terminology

Preparing for national certification!

during exam prep, make time for coffee breaks!
During exam prep, make time for coffee breaks!

I finished my CCHI certification in 2012, and now I’m getting ready to run a series of informal written test prep workshops for the interpreters in my department, so I’m going to share here my plan to get us ready for the written exam for national certification.

The interpreters in my department are planning to take the written exam the third week of December, so we’ve got about six weeks to prepare.  You might need more or less time.  You get to decide.  Just to give you some context, these are all interpreters with more than 40 hours of training, and at least four years of experience in adult and pediatric settings.  One of them is Burmese, and the rest are from Spanish-speaking countries.   Here’s what we will look at, over the next six weeks: Continue reading “Preparing for national certification!”

health care interpreting, terminology

Desesperarse vs Desperate

book-1528240This latest post comes from a Mexican colleague, Carlos, who’s been a Spanish medical interpreter longer than I have. Before that, he graduated with his degree in industrial chemical engineering.   Having a fellow interpreter whose native language is your second language is invaluable in terms of finding really, really good equivalents for words and phrases. Carlos has a lot to add to any conversation about language and interpreting, and he was nice enough to write a little something for us about finding an equivalent for desesperarse. Continue reading “Desesperarse vs Desperate”

health care interpreting, medical interpreting, terminology

Not Everything Is an “Aparato”: More Terminology for Interpreters

After my last terminology post, I asked the interpreters in my Language Services Department what other terminology could make for a good read.  One of them wrote to me, What do you think  about medical equipment such as stethoscope, speculum, forceps, otoscope,  angioscope, brace, splint, defibrillator, wound vac, wound drainage bag, etc.  Continue reading “Not Everything Is an “Aparato”: More Terminology for Interpreters”

health care interpreting, medical interpreting, new interpreters, terminology

Medical Terminology for Interpreters: What I Know

medical terminology

I’ve written about terminology before, and about how you can memorize lists and lists of terminology, but it’s not going to save you when you’re hit with words you didn’t even know that you didn’t know how to say.  But here I am to offer up a teeny piece of what I know from being an interpreter: What I might call my “must-know” words.  Understand that words are just words, and you still have to learn them in context, ideally through interpreting practice.  I did a lot of interpreting practice when preparing for my state court exam.  My preparation for my national health care exam was a decade of interpreting in hospitals, and everyone (patients, providers, and me) would have had a much easier go of it in the beginning if someone had revealed these tips to me.  So here they are, to get you started, or to start an argument if you’re a working interpreter who’d like to disagree with me (it’s allowed): Continue reading “Medical Terminology for Interpreters: What I Know”

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!

oral exam preparation, terminology

Legal Terminology for Health Care Interpreters

gavel-1238036Unlike my journey to health care interpreting (some might call it “trial by fire”), my journey to legal interpreting has been…Slower. Like, a lot slower. And I’m still not there. Far from it. I entered the world of health care interpreting over a decade ago with a splash, thrown in to the deep end of the pool without expecting it. Like a belly flop, only less graceful and more painful. (And I say that with love.)

Continue reading “Legal Terminology for Health Care Interpreters”

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”