interpreting in the real world- feedback wanted
Thread poster: Luke Mersh

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:03
Spanish to English
Oct 5, 2011

As a student in healthcare interpreting , i would like to know what kinds of difficulties do you encounter?

what are the biggest obsticles you encounter?


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Claudia Brauer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:03
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Healthcare interpreter challenges Oct 5, 2011

Hello, Luke. What a great question. There are many challenges that healthcare interpreters face every day. Let me start with the most difficult ones.

1. Technical knowledge. It takes years if not decades for doctors or nurses or medical technicians to learn their medical "dialect" (i.e., the specific technical terminology associated to their trade). However, the healthcare interpreter is expected to know the terms used by them all, in two languages, with total fluency. A healthcare interpreter is expected to know the terms and concepts used in anatomy, physiology, diseases, diagnostic tests, medical procedures, therapy, medication and medical instruments, for example, and to know all the terms used by cardiologists, dermatologists, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, nephrologists, otolaryngologists, ophthalmologists, Ob/gyn, pediatricians, radiologists, psychiatrists and regular doctors!

2. Roles of the interpreter. It is extremely difficult for the healthcare interpreter to "maintain" the role of the interpreter because for the most part the patient - but also sometimes the provider - try to "gain over" the interpreter as a "friend". The healthcare interpreter is often requested to render opinion or comments ("do you really think I should do what the doctor is telling me to do?"). Maintaining impartiality and the boundaries of the profession while rendering excellent customer service may sometimes be a challenge.

3. Misunderstanding of ground rules. Very often in a medical encounter the provider is pressed for time. He/she will have a long line of patients in the other waiting rooms and becomes a little impatient as the healthcare encounter with an interpreter takes longer than regular encounters. They try to compensate by going very fast or becoming impatient and the interpreter has to handle the situation very carefully so that they remember that this patient deserves as much attention as any other (you NEVER say that but allow them to reach their own conclusion).

4. Three-way communication. Since it is you who is speaking the language of the each party, many times they forget that you are simply the other's voice in that language and start "ignoring" the presence of the other party by addressing you directly and not each other. It requires some skill to remind them that you are there to facilitate communication between them and not to substitute for them (i.e. show interest, keep eye contact, remain focused, trust, rapport,c confidence).

5. Humor does not usually translate well in a medical encounter and many people when they are nervous try to tell a joke here or there and those jokes don't necessarily translate well and the other party is left thinking like "what was that all about"? So you have to kind of explain very briefly that in the other language that is a small joke.

6. Offensive language. Many times (specially the patient in pain or learning bad news) will use offensive language. Many interpreter do not like to interpret offensive language and will ask the patient to rephrase or omit the entire segment entirely. I believe that the interpreter must interpreter EVERYTHING said in the encounter, in the same register as uttered, so the other party can understand everything said.

There are many other challenges faced by healthcare interpreters every day. It is a difficult profession and, in my opinion, one of the most rewarding on earth if you do it right! I love the challenge and the uncertainty of "what is going to happen today". You are there to help save lives or improve them directly, right there and then. At the end of every day you feel the satisfaction of contributing to the greater good.


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:03
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
--------- Oct 5, 2011

Wow . That was really interesting information.
I had actually forgotten what I was going to ask so I asked this instead.
But what valuable information.

I start my DPSI in Healthcare this Saturday and I am really excited about it , after working many years in pubs I have decided to use my language skills to my benefit as language is my strong point and hopefully become a qualified Interpreter.

My ambition is to complete this course and to start to earn money at it and then learn the translation side of it so I have both skills properly completed.

regards
luke


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:03
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
--- Oct 6, 2011

where can i get good resources to read and educate myself on healthcare?

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:03
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Medical portals Oct 7, 2011

Depending on what you want, the choice of websites is almost overwhelming, and you have to be critical.

I use the Danish Medicines Agency website, because it has both my languages. You can see the English version here:

http://laegemiddelstyrelsen.dk/en/__standard-values/sitemap

There are masses of clickable links, and you may be able to find similar government or EU sites that suit you. The Danish website is really a well-organised portal that provides a lot of information for health service professionals as well as the general public. It is more a reference site than actually educational, however.

You can register free on sites like NetDoctor, The Lancet, the Cochrane Collaboration or MedScape, and find masses of reading matter aimed at different target groups.
These are all English sites, but you should read as much as possible in your source language too.

If you need a more systematic programme of reading to start with, I hope others can help you, but possibly a hard-copy introduction is easiest to work through, and should be good as a long-term reference resource.

Best of luck!


[Edited at 2011-10-07 09:32 GMT]


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:03
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
-------- Oct 7, 2011

thank you very much for all your information.
I will look into all these links and websites and hope that other people can provide me with other information.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:03
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Do you still want to be an interpreter? Oct 7, 2011

I finally found this classic story from the archives and could not resist reviving it!

http://www.proz.com/forum/off_topic/29953-things_doesnt_happen_to_me_like_to_everybody_else_interpreting_story.html

Have a good weekend!



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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:03
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
---- Oct 7, 2011

No I really want to do this. Language is my forte and I enjoy it, yes things do go wrong, but a well prepared interpreter can make things work.

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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:03
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
methology for translating medical documents- feedback wanted Oct 19, 2011

So another part of my exam is to translate medical and healthcare documents.

People have told me that what I need to do is :

1.-read the dociment and get the gist of what is being said.
2.- then write out a rough translation highlighting all terminology.
3.- write out rough translation with terminology.
4.- write out translation as it should be.

if anybody could add to this or explain how they co I would appreciate any feedback.


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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:03
Italian to English
+ ...
Key word - REAL world Oct 19, 2011

Luke,

Some comments:

- is the translation under timed exam conditions? If so, you're going to be very pushed for time following your 4 steps

- in real world translating, up against deadlines, again you'll find time of the essence.

However, what is of concern is the fact that you want to understand the processes but actually need to concentrate on the basics - your sample translations are full of errors as mentioned before.
They demonstrate a lack of care and attention and, remember, this is an open forum.


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:03
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
_______ Oct 19, 2011

Thank you Sussana.
Would you recommend that I go over those translations and re-edit them and post them back up?

I would like to learn, I am open to constructive criticism.

they say that "errors are the stepping stones to success"

We learn from our errors.

I will post some more translations, and hope that they are better.
regards
luke


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:03
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Plan your time Oct 19, 2011

Step 1 will be time well spent, but the emphasis is on getting the gist. Sometimes problems solve themselves if you read to the end of the text and get the whole story!

My advice is not to write down any 'rough' formulation that you are not satisfied with.

Step 2 - underline and look up terminology, and translate the text in your head. Pencil in any complicated sentences and write EXACTLY the spelling and form of terms you have to look up, but skip the straightforward bits.
I find this is time well spent too, but some people like to jump straight in and write the translation as they look things up.

If you can see you are going to be short of time, stop halfway through or at the end of a section. Go on to steps 3 and 4 to make sure you have at least some finished text to show the best you can do!

Step 3 - type the translation in its final form, or the closest you can get, with as few interruptions as possible. You will still have to look up a few things or double check.

Step 4 - Proofread what you have written very carefully, and this will take longer than you think! (It still does for me, after years of experience )

If you have not completed the whole text, go back and do Step 2 for the next section...

Step 5 if you have time... Read it all again - look for spelling, punctuation, missed words, small details.

Errors are stepping stones to success if you correct them, but nobody's perfect. Definitely the biggest error is to be so afraid of doing anything wrong that you do nothing at all!

Best of luck!


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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:03
Italian to English
+ ...
Say my name (apologies to Rihanna) Oct 20, 2011

It's Susanna, Luke, not Sussana ..... attention to detail.

It's great that you're so positive, now take it forward. Of course remove/edit/revise the translations, why on earth would you leave them there for potential clients to see?

I'll bow out now as I don't think I can contribute further.

Please now walk the walk.

All the best

Suzi


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:03
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
------- Oct 21, 2011

yes I apologize for misspelling your name.

Today I will re-work these translations and hope that in my endeavor they will have improved.

you can still contribute and help, there will always be room for improvement.

I wanted to use the project facility on my profile page, but it seems its a premium feature.

Any how I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

regards

Luke


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