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.

Step 1: Glossary

Download the idiom glossary and complete it with equivalents/translations in your working language(s). Since this is an editable document, you can use it indefinitely to record all the idiomatic expressions and figures of speech you encounter.

 Step 2: Written Conversion Exercises

Download the Written Conversion Exercises. Once you do, translate the sentences into your working language(s). Use the glossary and appropriate strategies for interpreting idioms. When you complete the activity, compare your answers with another interpreter working in the same language(s).

Step 3: Consecutive Interpretation Practice

woman in yellow sweater wearing headphones using laptop
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Use these audio recordings to practice interpreting idiomatic expressions.

There are two recordings with 10 sentences each.

Play the recording and pause after every sentence. Interpret that sentence and play the next one.


I highly recommend that as you interpret, you record yourself. You can then evaluate your interpretation using the transcript or exchange recordings with another interpreter working in your language(s) and give each other feedback.

Download the audio recording transcript here: 3. Idioms for Medical Interpreters Recording Scripts

Points to consider for (self)evaluation:

  • Was your rendition accurate and complete?
  • Were you able to get the meaning of the idiom across?
  • Did the strategy you chose work for this particular figure of speech?

Good luck out there! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch using the Contact tab in the menu. Or comment with an idiom/idioms that you personally found difficult!

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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