Slow Translation, Scamming the Scammer, and More – Translorial Fall 2016 Edition

Translorial Vol 38, No. 2

NCTA members can download the Fall 2016 edition of the Translorial in print and downloadable PDF versions, covering a variety of topics.

If you are not an NCTA member, you can join here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Table of contents of the Translorial Fall 2016 edition, Vol. 38, No. 2: → continue reading

MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY BOOTCAMP

Considered a “dead language” by some, Latin continues to flourish in the world of Science and Medicine. Bootcamp attendees get the breakdown. BY MIKE KARPA

Marlene V. Obermeyer guided interpreters and translators through the lingo of medicine and the human body in an eight-hour medical terminology bootcamp held June 30, 2012, six floors above Market Street at the San Francisco State downtown campus. Obermeyer, a long-time registered nurse with a Masters degree, offers online training in medical interpreting and terminology from her base in Kansas through Culture Advantage and Virginia College. She also gives a handful of medical terminology bootcamps annually around the country through the IMIA. Carlos Garcia of the IMIA has been trying to schedule a bootcamp in San Francisco for some time, and he and NCTA organizer Sarah Llewellyn were delighted to be able to jointly host Obermeyer. → continue reading

LANGUAGE SPECIALISTS AND HEALTH CARE

Medical interpreters are a critical link between patients and providers. BY CARLOS L. GARCÍA, CMI

Medical interpreters are those language specialists that help patients and providers communicate when they do not speak the same language.

This critical link that needs to be established between health care providers and patients has gone widely unchecked since 1964, with the passing of the Civil Rights Act, which goes on to say in its Title VI, Section 602 that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” → continue reading

PROGRESS REPORT ON MEDICAL INTERPRETER CERTIFICATION

National Medical Interpreter Certification was a hot topic at the  2009 ATA Conference. BY LINDA JOYCE

The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters was very pleased to participate in the  ATA 50th Annual Conference, held in New York City on October 28-31, 2009 and to introduce conference attendees to the nation’s first National Medical Interpreter Certification. → continue reading

THE 8TH ANNUAL CHIA CONFERENCE

The California Healthcare Interpreting Association (CHIA) celebrated its 8th Annual Conference in Costa Mesa, California during the weekend of April 11-12. BY JUDIT MARIN

The theme of this year’s Conference was “From Grass Roots to Redwoods: the Growth of Healthcare Interpreting in California.” In her welcoming remarks, Elizabeth Nguyen, CHIA’s newly elected President, noted that during the past few decades, tremendous demographic changes have continued to present new challenges as well as opportunities for healthcare providers, language providers, individual interpreters, and educational institutions to work together towards the common goal of improving access to health care for our diverse communities.

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SPECIALIZING: CHALLENGES AND REWARDS

With rates under increasing pressure from globalization and other trends, many translators are turning to specialization. But the leap is not always easy.

BY QUYEN NGO

This article was inspired by recent postings from several NCTA members inquiring about transitioning into certain fields, and the respective pay rates that one might expect. In today’s general translation marketplace, with more competition and lower pay, translators are looking to focus their content expertise, and specifically in the specialized fields of medical and legal interpreting.

Many translators and interpreters are what I would call generalists. A random peek into their profiles shows the ability to work in a variety of fields, ranging from finance, engineering, and education to telecommunications, law, medicine, and science. These professionals tend to work on a few projects in each area, allowing them to (justifiably) tout the range of their capabilities.

Other translators and interpreters, however, specialize in one or two fields at the most. A specialist can be a generalist, but not vice versa: even the slightest interpreting errors in fields such as medicine and law can have grave consequences for the limited English-proficient (LEP) client. As an interpreter in these two highly specialized disciplines, I know that success requires significant dedication, study, and training. It can take anywhere from four to six years to be a proficient interpreter in either of these fields.

The best medicine

Working as a medical interpreter, I am of course well-versed in medical terminology but am also familiar with many medical procedures as well. When a doctor gives an NOP order, I know exactly what that is (no oral products). When a patient requests a DNR order, I also know that he does not want to be resuscitated in a life-threatening circumstance. It’s not reasonable to expect a translator who doesn’t have such training—a generalist—to walk into a medical interpreting setting and be able to know what these terms refer to.

Other times, the medical translator specialist will be required to work in emotional and stressful conditions such as emergencies or life-and-death situations. There was an occasion where I interpreted a religious prayer conducted by a hospital chaplain for a terminally ill patient. This event had nothing to do with medical interpreting, yet of course it was an important part of the job.

Rules of law

In the field of legal interpreting, many will find the compensation fairly good. Legal interpreting is one of the most comprehensive interpreting fields in that it requires broad knowledge of numerous other subfields. For example, family and probate law will require knowledge of financial terms. Criminal cases will require knowledge of science and medicine pertaining to forensic evidence. Civil suits involving worker’s compensation or personal injury will require knowledge of medical, vehicle, and insurance terms. Immigration, small claims, juvenile, and other specialized areas all have their own terminology. And, needless to say, courtroom interpreting can be challenging and intensive when opposing lawyers, witnesses, and judge are all talking at once.

When generalists take on the work of specialists without the proper training, few of them will be able to render acceptable translations or interpretations. Once, a medical glossary translated by a generalist provided me with incredulous comic relief. The term athlete’s foot was literally translated as “the foot of an athlete”; hives was translated as “disease of beehives”; and speed (methamphetamine) was translated as “velocity.”

The client comes first

A generalist may go into a medical or legal interpreting setting believing that he can render an interpretation without the adequate training, and thinking that no one will know if he makes an interpretation error, but this may not be the case. I have known of some interpreters being sent away in the middle of a job for poor performance.

On one occasion, I provided interpretation for a couple whose child was hospitalized. At the end of the session, the father posed several questions to the doctor in perfectly good English. I inquired afterwards why they needed my services if the father was proficient in English. The father answered that my services were for the benefit of the mother, who did not understand English; that even though the father’s English was good, it did not mean that he could accurately interpret for his wife. They were more comfortable employing an interpreter. Another time, while interpreting in a deposition, the client, client’s attorney, and I all spoke the same native language. If an interpreting error was made, the client’s attorney would definitely have noticed.

Some generalists will accept assignments that they are not qualified to do for financial reasons. I view being a translator or interpreter as a noble profession that is rewarding in so many ways. We are the conduits that enable LEP clients to have fair access to a number of services that might not have been possible because of language barriers. Without them, we wouldn’t be working. Therefore, we owe it to them to be properly trained and qualified so that we can deliver the exceptional service that they deserve.