Friday, March 22, 2013

Wild Wild West Conditions Persist in Medical Interpreting

This week, InterpretAmerica Co-President Katharine Allen, along with interpreting student Kaitlin Heximer, is the guest blogger for the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters' (NAJIT) weekly blog.

The topic? Lamentable work and language access conditions that still persist in too many healthcare settings. Raising the profile of the interpreting profession is a major focus for InterpretAmerica. The theme for this year’s 4th InterpretAmerica Summit is On The Cutting Edge: Bringing Interpreting To The Forefront. A major goal of the Summit is to impart the knowledge and skills we all need to create a highly visible platform for our field. 

Our keynote speaker, Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Busy World, will apply the depth of his expertise to creating such a platform not just for individuals, but for an entire profession. His talk will be followed by a panel of three of the most effective social media users in the interpreting industry - Ian Andersen of the European Uniion, Nataly Kelly, co-author of Lost in Translation, Brandon Arthur of

The blogpost, Wild Wild West Conditions Persist in Medical Interpreting, highlights the story of Masters candidate Kaitlin Heximer, whose initial interpreting work in the community interpreting sectors was anything but smooth, due to the lack of even basic training she had received in interpreting ethics, standards, and protocols.

“When I think back to the first time I ever interpreted in a formal setting, I would have done things differently if I knew then what I know now about interpreter ethics and best practices. A “simple” medical appointment turned into an epic 11-hour saga at the hospital emergency room with a patient whose sinus problems were quickly overshadowed by his mentally unstable condition.” **
Kaitlin is currently a student in the newly-minted and highly-innovative Masters in Conference Interpreting program, offered through the Glendon College School of Translation at York University. She already has a Masters in translation, and is no stranger to the healthcare system herself. She started interpreting just a year ago, as a volunteer interpreter for a refugee resettlement agency.
Her story is worth hearing. It is a stark reminder that despite so much rapid change transforming the healthcare interpreting profession, the “bad ‘ol days” of pressing untrained bilingual staff or volunteers into service are not yet a thing of the past. Hospitals may be jumping on the technology bandwagon in droves, doctors now access video medical interpreters through their smart phones and there are not one but two validated national medical interpreter certifications in the US[1]. However, patients and bilingual individuals trying to help them are still put in high-risk situations with depressing frequency.
To read the rest of her story, visit the NAJIT Blog.
Then register for the 4th InterpetAmerica Summit, to be held June 14-15, 2013 in Reston, Virginia! Add your voice to the discussion!

1 comment:

  1. Nice experience shared. Its not less than an interview. Great way of posting such good and informative stuff.

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