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

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.

Continue reading “Thank You For the Words: Building Your Interpreter Glossary”

For Interpreters by Interpreters: Useful Resources and Interesting Content

Sometimes, it can be hard for interpreters and translators to meet in person. My friend and a fellow interpreter Angelika and I work for many of the same agencies and often take appointments at the same hospitals, and so we often joke that our favorite meeting place is hospital parking garages – because that’s where we often meet and snatch a few minutes of hurried catch-up before running off to our respective assignments. There are, of course, conferences and other events put on by professional organizations and associations – I’m a proud member of NOTIS (The Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society), which not only organizes classes and workshops for interpreters (some of which I teach) but also puts on a fabulous annual conference (which this year took place in the Museum of Flight!) and fun holiday parties. 

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Conferences, workshops and holiday parties are a great opportunity to learn, to network and to meet new friends (and to show off your ugly Christmas sweater!), but how do you connect with fellow interpreters and translators outside of such events? Luckily, we language professionals are nothing if not resourceful and there are many online communities, blogs, groups and other places where interpreters and translators can talk, ask for advice, and share their wisdom and experience with others. This blog post will outline some resources and content created by interpreters, for interpreters – and translators, too! 

Continue reading “For Interpreters by Interpreters: Useful Resources and Interesting Content”

Resources for Russian Medical Interpreters Part 2: Podcasts

Why podcasts?

This post continues a series of posts suggesting resources specifically for Russian language interpreters. The first post listed some books in Russian that I think will be helpful for healthcare interpreters. In this article, we`ll turn our attention to Russian-language podcasts.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, when people live abroad, it can be difficult to find opportunities to maintain their native language. Personally, I was alarmed to discover that, despite my recent trip to Russia and the fact that I keep in touch with friends and family back in Russia, I was completely unaware of a new trend in the Russian language: feminization of certain job names. For example, it is suggested that a female blogger should be called блогерка (blogerka) and a female author авторка (avtorka). I actually heard my good friend Yana use these words, but since I’d never heard them before I blithely assumed that my dear friend was using Ukrainian words, as she often does (and thus helps me learn Ukranian without trying). To my surprise, I heard the very same words in a new podcast about the Russsian language and linguistics. The moral of the story that podcasts are a very handy tool in an interpreter’s arsenal and a good way to keep your ear to the ground when it comes to new trends in the Russian language.  And if you need more convincing, here are a few other reasons to listen to podcasts:

  • If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time on your phone. In addition, as an interpreter, you probably spend a lot of time driving, commuting or walking 8f9b2663-715f-4697-976e-40ae96cadfbabetween appointments and waiting for the patient to show up. In addition, you might get easily bored when doing chores or walking your dog or going for a morning run. For all these times, podcasts are the answer.
  • When listening to medical podcasts, you’re actively developing your personal medical glossary and furthering your knowledge of all things medicine.
  • When listening to non-medical podcasts, you are maintaining your Russian language, keeping up to date with modern Russian words and expressions as well as the Russian culture, attitudes, and mentality. All of the above are important things for an interpreter to know.

Continue reading “Resources for Russian Medical Interpreters Part 2: Podcasts”

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. Continue reading “Resources for Interpreting in Cancer Care”