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Resources for Medical Interpreters: Skill-Building and Medical Terminology

Below is a collection of resources that can be used to practice consecutive and simultanious interpreting skills, and sight translation skills. I am hoping these resources will be useful for healthcare interpreters with all levels of experience – those just starting out and preparing to take their exams or their first assignments, or those with years of experience wanting to brush up on a specific topic. This list is constantly updated as I find new resources and I welcome your suggestions – leave a comment below or get in touch using the Contact tab.

Medical Dialogues and Scenarios

Video and audio-based medical dialogues and role-plays

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Breathe in, breathe out: respiratory system resources for medical interpreters

Whether you are a medical interpreting student preparing for medical interpreter certification exams or a working medical interpreter looking for a quick refresher on the respiratory system in order to prepare for an interpreting assignment, this collection of resources on respiratory health and respiratory diseases is here to help. Alternatively, you can skip to the end of the article where you’ll find some videos with medical dialogues to help you keep your interpreting skills sharp.

In this post, I put together resources related to anatomy of the respiratory system, as well as diagnosis and treatment of respiratory conditions and diseases. As you are reading, wathching and listening to various sources in this article, you could:

  • Engage in terminology mining – that it, finding words and phrases that are new to you or that might be familiar to you in English, but need to be looke up in your working language(s). Just remember to add the new terminology you learn along the way to your personal glossary!
  • Practice simultanious and consecutive interpreting skills – whether it’s shadowing or note-taking.

Respiratory System: Anatomy and Physiology

Let’s start with basics: the anatomy and physiology. As a medical interpreter, this section will help you in several ways. Firstly, background knowledge and understanding of the respratory system inner workings will promote accuracy in your interpreting. Secondly, when explaining diagnoses and treatment plans, providers often desctibe relevant anatomy and physiology – so by learning this termonology in English and your working language(s), you will be able to interpet in such appointements with full confidence!

Medical providers in pulmonary and respiratory care

Respiratory System Procedures, Tests and Treatments

From pulmonary function test to sleep study, be ready to interpret in any of these appointments!

Respiratory System Disorders, Conditions and Diseases

Translated Materials

Check each link for the languages avaialble, examples of language translations are Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, French, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese

Interpreting Practice Dialogues and Role-Plays

More Resources for Medical Interpers

  • For a collection of practice resources for medical interpreters, click here.
  • For recommendations of books for medical interpreters, click here.
  • For a list of blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels for interpreters, click here.
  • To learn about self-care for medical interpreters, click here.
  • For practice activities for developing your note-taking skills, click here.
  • For a list of podcasts related to medicine in English, see here.
  • For recommendations for TV shows medical interpreters, click here.
  • For resources related to idioms for medical idioms click here and here.
  • For recommendations for Russian-language podcasts and medical books click here and here.

If you’re on Facebook, consider joining my Facebook group, Interpreters and Translators in Washington State, which welcomes interpreters working in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere to join and participate in this wonderful online community!

More about the author: About Yuliya Speroff

Interested in my interpreter training services and would like to collaborate? Read more about the workshops I am able to offer in Interpreter Training 

Want to get in touch? Contact me

Idioms for Medical Interpreters: Practice Activities

This blog post is a collection of practice activities meant both to accompany my webinar on Interpreting Idioms and Cultural References and also provide opportunities for self-study. If you haven’t attended my webinar, read this blog post which will provide you with an overview of strategies for interpreting idioms:Idioms for Medical Interpreters.

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Note-taking for Medical Interpreters: Resources and Practice Materials

person holding orange click pen writing on notebookNote-taking as part of consecutive interpretation is an essential skill for any interpreter – whether you’re interpreting at a medical appointment, a deposition, or a conference, and whether you’re doing this in person, over the phone or remotely. This blog post is a collection of resources for developing note-taking skills. In addition to pooling together materials from a variety of sources, this post contains some practical exercises I created especially for this blog post.

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Interpreting Humor and Jokes: Who has the Last Laugh?

I’m very excited to share with you this very special post –  the first guest post on the Medical Interpreter Blog! The idea for it came about when I was attending the California Healthcare Interpreting Association’s 20th Educational Conference conference in San Diego, California.  I attended many excellent workshops and presentations that day, but one presentation, Humor and Jokes: Who has the Last Laugh? was particularly enjoyable, not least because the team presenting it was also from Seattle!  So when I approached Tamas Farkas and Michaela Kiley of the Cross Cultural Health Care Program (CCHCP) after their talk, they humored me (pun intended!) and kindly agreed to share their ideas with readers of this blog. So now you, too, can learn why dealing with humor in medical settings is no joke and what to do when somebody decides to make a pun.

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Thank You For the Words: Building Your Interpreter Glossary

I’m not sure where this drawing is from but from time to time it makes rounds in various interpreter groups on social media. Aside from being funny, the image captures the true nature of the interpreter profession: it’s a highly-skilled job. Being a good interpreter involves well-developed listening and speaking skills, a strong memory, note-taking skills, sound knowledge of the code of ethics in your chosen field(s) – and being the proverbial embodiment of a walking dictionary.

It’s certainly true that no one can know ALL of the words related to a particular subject – after all, the English language contains roughly 1 million words, and most adult native English speakers have a vocabulary which includes only a fraction of that – about 20,000–35,000 words. However, interpreters must possess a professional vocabulary that encompasses a wide variety of terms they can expect to encounter on a daily basis, be it medical, legal or political terminology. The building of your glossary starts when you begin preparing for certification exams and stops… well, never. It never stops. Even the most knowledgable and experienced interpreter will encounter new words and expressions or will need to prepare for a new kind of assignment. So, as interpreters, we need a way to work with our personal glossaries: organizing terminology, learning it, revising it, and sharing it with others. This blog post will suggest some options for glossary management.

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