Resources for Interpreting in Cancer Care

IMG_7654One of the interpreter training workshops I offer is Interpreting in Cancer Care. At a recent workshop, many of the participants commented on the curated list of resources I put together as part of the workshop handout and I decided to share it with my blog readers.

Now, oncology is an enormous field with many sub-specialties and nobody can know everything – not even medical providers. However, as interpreters, we should always strive to develop our knowledge and our glossaries. Whether you’re a seasoned interpreter who wants to brush up on oncology terminology before an appointment or a new interpreter who wants to be ready for interpreting in cancer care, I hope you’ll find this list of resources helpful.

1.  National Cancer Institute was my main source for preparing my workshop. There is so much information, and it’s well-organized and linked together so it’s easy to find what you need. But for your convenience, below are links to some of the sections of the NCI website (click on the name of each section to open the link in a new window).

There is lots more as you can see from the screenshot below – and it’s also available in Spanish.


2. American Cancer Society  (English) and other languages  (Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French. Haitian Creole, Hindi, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, Vietnamese). 

This website contains comprehensive information on cancer and treatments, written in simple language.

Also, here’s the American Cancer Society YouTube page. It contains dozens of videos on a variety of cancer-related topics, which are great for both education and interpretation practice.


3. ASCO Answers Fact Sheets is a collection of oncologist-approved patient education materials developed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for people with cancer and their caregivers. This series of fact sheets provides a one-page (front and back) introduction to a specific type of cancer or cancer-related topic. Each PDF document includes an overview of the subject, terms to know, and questions to ask the doctor (some materials are available in Spanish, Arabic, Greek, Portugues, Romanian).

4. MedLine Plus has information on cancer in English and in multiple languages. You can either look for a specific topic e.g. chemotherapy or look in the Cancer section. These are handouts for patients so they are written in a way that is easy to understand.

Information on cancer in the following languages (Albanian (Gjuha Shqipe), Arabic (العربية), Bengali (Bangla / বাংলা). Chinese, Simplified (Mandarin dialect) (简体中文), Chinese, Traditional (Cantonese dialect) (繁體中文), French (français), Haitian Creole (Kreyol ayisyen), Hindi (हिन्दी), Japanese (日本語), Korean (한국어), Nepali (नेपाली), Polish (polski), Portuguese (português), Russian (Русский), Somali (Af-Soomaali ), Spanish (español), Tagalog, (Wikang Tagalog), Ukrainian, Urdu (اردو), Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt). 

 Another option is to go to the main page and scroll through the page to search for oncology-related topics in multiple languages. 

5. University of Washington Patient Education. There are many languages available, scroll through the page to search for oncology-related topics.

6. The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Patient Information  Video SeriesSince this information is presented in videos, this is also a great opportunity to develop your interpreting skills – you can practice taking notes for consecutive interpretation, shadow the video to develop your simultaneous interpretation skills, or simply practice doing consecutive interpreting.

7. HealthReach Patient Education. Similarly to MedLine Plus, this site has patient education resources in multiple languages. Plus, this is a government website so you know the information is reliable. You can scroll through the main page (link in the title of the website) or click on this link to go to the search result for cancer-related topics in multiple languages.

8. Mayo Clinic’s YouTube playlist for cancer-related topics.

9. And here are some YouTube videos on a variety of cancer-related topics.



More Resources for Medical Interpers

  • For resources related to idioms for medical idioms click here and here.
  • For a collection of resources for medical 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 ideas on glossary building, click here.
  • For a list of podcasts related to medicine in English, see here.
  • For recommendations for TV shows medical interpreters, click here.
  • For recommendations for Russian-language podcasts and books click here and here.

Know of other resources for interpreters by interpreters that you think should be added to this list? Comment below!

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

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