|Posted by rpospina on March 29, 2016 at 9:45 PM|
A recent experience after posting a simple question in a Translation and Interpreting (T&I) Facebook group, has inspired me to write this post. I wanted to share my 2 cents in regards to being part of (and making use of) these online forums.
|Posted by rpospina on April 2, 2015 at 2:55 PM|
Doctor: Are you sexually active?
Doctor: Do you have multiple partners or just one?
LEP: No, just myself
+ + + + + + + + + +
Interpreter spelling last name “Sing” for an LEP:
“S” de “Salvador”, “I” de “India”, “N” de Nicaragua, “G” de Guatemala
LEP: ¿Cómo? ¿“G” de Guatemala? Será “G” de Cuba...
+ + + + + + + + + +
LEP being interviewed for WIC (Women, Infants and Children) benefits:
Si, yo vengo aqui para la leche del niño y porque me dijeron que me iban a dar un “calsil” [Car seat]
+ + + + + + + + + +
Male LEP visiting his PCP (Primary Care Physician)
LEP: Doctor, I am having a problem but it's very personal.
Doctor: Alright, what is the problem?
LEP: Well, when I am being intimate with a woman, I finish too fast.
Doctor: Well, you seem to be having a common problem called “premature ejaculation”
[Doctor goes on and on about safe sexual practices and giving advise on how to work on this. Then leaves the room to consult with the attending physician, asking the interpreter and LEP to wait]
LEP: Interpreter, are you there? You have a very beautiful voice and you are such a good interpreter. Do you live around here?
Interpreter: Thank you Sir. No, the interpreter is in a remote location.
LEP: Oh, that's too bad... I thought you were here because I'd like to meet you.
+ + + + + + + + + +
On a call with a car insurance company, taking a statement from an LEP about an accident
Agent: So, sir, in your own words, please explain what happened in this accident.
LEP: Bueno, yo iba de camino al trabajo y esperando la luz verde el vino y me “tapichó el mueble”
Interpreter: The interpreter needs clarification because the insured has just stated that something happened to a furniture or sofa.
Interpreter: Señor, disculpe; el intérprete necesita aclarar ¿a qué se refiere usted cuando dice “el mueble” y qué quiere decir que él se lo “tapichó”?
LEP: Que me chocó el carro.
+ + + + + + + + + +
LEP: Ay no Doctor... ya me han hecho demasiados “emorar” [MRI]
+ + + + + + + + + +
|Posted by rpospina on February 16, 2015 at 4:05 PM|
I have witnesed how serious a miscommunication can be in a health care setting without a proper interpreter, but I couldn't help but be surprised at a whole new level when I learned about this case:
On a routine morning, in a reputable health care facility in the Pensacola area, a female patient of foreign nationality – and who did not speak English – was getting ready for her procedure: a tubal ligation. She had been cleared to have the procedure done in a previous appointment, for which her husband served as an interpreter. The day of the procedure, when the provider was getting ready to obtain a signature for the patient's informed consent, she requested the services of a telephone interpreter, in order to provide the patient specific information about the risks, alternatives to the procedure, etc.
When the provider explained this to the patient, the patient's answer was -“But this is not why I came here, that is against my religion”. Long story short, the patient was brought to have this procedure done under false pretenses by her husband, who wanted her to be sterilized so that they would not have more children, knowing that the patient would not agree to this, due to her religious beliefs. He had her believe she was getting another gynecological procedure done, and he almost got away with it, had it not been by the physician's due diligence of providing a qualified interpreter. What a great catch and a great lesson to be learned by all of us!
|Posted by rpospina on January 25, 2015 at 4:35 PM|
Using the services of a professional over-the-phone interpreter (OPI) has numerous advantages: flexibility to pay for the services as needed, privacy that allows you to have an interpreter while doing a physical examination for a patient, availability 24/7 and on short notice, etc.
Unfortunately, there are many professionals who rely on OPI's to communicate with their limited English proficient clients (LEP) and do not take full advantage of the experience simply because they don't know how to do it. So, here are my two cents about this, from my experiences as an OPI so far:
1. Address the LEP directly. Instead of asking “Interpreter, please ask her for her date of birth” you should simply ask “Ma’am, what is your date of birth?”; professional interpreters are trained to speak in the first person.
2. You have control of the conversation. The interpreter's responsibility is to convert what is being said from one language into another exactly as it is being said, not to be the moderator of the conversation.
3. It is the interpreter's duty to interpret everything that is being said, exactly as it is being said. By everything, I mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G, literarily. If you use very technical language and the LEP doesn't seem to be understanding your statements, you should take this into consideration and adjust your register (the degree of formality of your vocabulary). This also goes for any side comments (good or bad).
4. Use acronyms and abbreviations wisely or don't use them at all. While they can be very useful to communicate industry-specific jargon among colleagues, they can be an interpreter's nightmare; please be considerate and if you will use an [uncommon] acronym or abbreviation make sure that at least the first time you use this term, you indicate what it stands for.
5. Be mindful of your pronunciation and the speed of your speech. Communication over the phone does not come without challenges and it can be even more difficult if you are not mindful of your pronunciation and the overall tone and speed of your messages. If you have a strong accent, please be mindful of that and articulate as best as you can, keeping in mind that the slower the better.
6. Avoid talking over the interpreter. Let's face it, it's simply rude and most importantly, it can result in omissions of important information and miscommunications.
7. You can request a female or male interpreter and sometimes, you should. This is specially important to handle certain medical calls (gynecology, urology) or calls of a somewhat delicate nature (reports of abuse, psychiatric calls, police intake, etc.) Most companies give you the flexibility to request a female or male interpreter for the comfort of your LEP, so make use of this option when appropriate.
8. If you need to transfer the call, please warm transfer. If you have an OPI and you need to transfer your LEP to another extension, please be considerate and explain to your colleague that you have an LEP with an interpreter on the phone to ensure that the transfer goes smoothly.
9. Take your setting into consideration for sound quality purposes. Make sure that you speak loud enough to be heard through a speaker phone if that's your set-up and inform the interpreter when you will be stepping away from the phone or leaving the room; stop speaking if there are crying babies in the room, if your phone is right by your computer you should know that when you type on a loud keyboard, that's pretty much all the interpreter can hear.
10. A few helpful tips. I'd like to share a few tips that might make a difference and improve your communication with your LEP's through an OPI:
And remember... you should speak THROUGH the interpreter, NOT TO the interpreter.
|Posted by rpospina on December 7, 2014 at 1:05 AM|
The holiday season is upon us and it's one of my favorite times of the year, minus the cold weather. Here is a list of gift ideas for translators and interpreters (T&I):
|Posted by rpospina on November 25, 2014 at 3:50 PM|
Many times while I am interpreting for older adults, I find myself wondering how strictly should I follow the protocol or stick to my usual norms when doing so may turn into another communication barrier. Here are a few tips that I've gathered to enhance the quality of our interpreting services for older adults:
Source this article: The skills of communication in aged care
|Posted by rpospina on October 21, 2014 at 3:15 PM|
It has just over 600 pages, but it's compact and light, perfect to bring with you to on-site assignments where access to an online dictionary may not be available.
In the instructions, it has information on how to use the dictionary and gives you explanations of the various English and Spanish sounds as well as orthographic changes and cognates (words that are related in their origin in both languages)
There are over 12,000 terms translated between English < > Spanish, but what I really like about it is that it gives you first the translation into the other language, and then it gives you an easy definition of the word in plain terms; in many cases, it gives you several definitions depending on the context and the translation of each one of them, which is great.
Another pleasant surprise was the Appendixes; each one has a comprehensive list of complete sentences and dialogues that are commonly used in health care settings. They are grouped by category ranging from basic questions for the patients, specialty-specific terminology, appointment settings and vocabulary specific to various diagnosis: diabetes, cancer, HIV, etc.
All in all, I think this is a great tool not only for medical interpreters and translators, but also for any professional within the health care industry.
|Posted by rpospina on October 18, 2014 at 12:35 PM|
Both have a lot in common:
However, when it comes down to the actual interpretation things are a little bit different. As an interpreter whose workload is mainly over the phone and related to the medical field, I'd like to list some situations in which conducting a session through a video platform can be much more accurate and effective:
The list goes on and it can be applied to many different fields but this can give you an idea of what kind of scenarios could be best handled by a video interpreter instead of a telephonic one.
Interested? I can offer video-remote interpretation services through the brand-new Capiche platform which is now part of the renowned STRATUS video interpreting. This platform allows you to reach a video-remote interpreter by simply downloading an app on your smart phone. Also, it gives you the possibility of building a network of your preferred interpreters and establish on-going relationships with them – something highly unlikely with other platforms.
|Posted by rpospina on September 11, 2014 at 3:05 PM|
As an interpreter, I constantly hear Spanish-speakers from different backgrounds and levels of education; some remain very loyal to our native language and others, due to the influence of the English language, are starting to blend the two into what we know as “Spanglish”.
Spanglish is more than the well-known and obvious expressions such as “yo tengo billes que pagar” [I have bills to pay]; there are many other “additions” to this dictionary that are far more discrete, such as “tengo que llenar una aplicación” [I have to fill out an application]. The latter always makes me question my renditions and wonder if I'm using the right terms.
Now I want to share with you this list I started this as a personal exercise and constant reminder of these common false cognates:
The word: Is not: It should be:
Apply, (to) Aplicar Solicitar
Attend Atender Asistir
Carpet Carpeta Alfombra, tapiz
Cervix Cérvix* Cuello uterino (o del útero)
College Colegio Universidad, instituto.
Constipation Constipación Estreñimiento
Cup Copa Taza
Defendant Defendido Acusado, demandado
Discuss Discutir Platicar, hablar acerca de [...]
Disorder Desorden Trastorno
Drugs (medications) Drogas Fármacos, medicinas
Embarrassed Embarazada/o Avergonzado, apenado
Expiration Expiración Vencimiento
Facilities Facilidades Instalaciones
Fence Fenza Cerca, verja
Insurance Aseguranza Seguro
Introduce Introducir Presentar
Intoxicated Intoxicado Embriagado, ebrio, borracho
Language Lenguaje Idioma, lengua
Library Librería Biblioteca
To move (in or out) Moverse Mudarse
Nurse Norsa Enfermera
Qualified Calificado Capacitado, reúne los requisitos
Recipient Recipiente Destinatario, receptor
Remark Remarcar Comentario
Sympathy Simpatía Empatía
Truck Troca Camión, camioneta
Tubes (Fallopian) Tubos Trompas
Yard Yarda Jardín, patio
* The RAE dictionary (Real Academia Española) has this term under consideration for future inclusion: RAE.es
|Posted by rpospina on August 4, 2014 at 12:25 PM|
I'd like to share with my fellow interpreters a number of tips that other professionals kindly provided when I was preparing for my first simultaneous interpreting assignment. To recap the basics, simultaneous interpreting requires the interpreter to render what the speaker is saying in language “X” into language “Y”, while the speech is taking place (hence the name simultaneous):
Become familiar with the terminology. Read.
Once you've learned the terminology, practice.
Obtain information about the equipment and interpreter's set-up.
A few words of advice:
|Posted by rpospina on July 28, 2014 at 8:40 PM|
"I would never imagine loving what I do for the rest of my life but I am so glad I do. I started interpreting as a child back in the day when only VCR's were invented and my sisters and I would interpret the whole movie for my parents. They never missed out on any new releases and it was such an honor to be able to do that for them. When I got hired professionally in the year 2006 I was very honest when they asked me what previous experience I have had, I told them the truth, “just serving as an interpreter for my parents since I was about 8 years old”.
Being about 7 I think that was the age I became fascinated with languages and the meaning of certain words. I remember coming home one day from school in tears since one of my schoolmates called me “hilarious” and me being a bilingual student but mainly speaking Spanish thought that word was offensive. That day my older sister asked me why I was crying and I told her and she just simply laughed and told me the meaning of the word and made me feel silly for crying. From there on I have been fascinated learning different words for certain meanings.
When I was first hired by a professional company I mainly took customer service calls. Later I was trained to take calls specialized in the medical, legal, and insurance fields. I can clearly say medical has been my favorite although some calls have been difficult to get through them; here is an example: I remember this day like if it was yesterday taking this call even having my food on one side just in case it was an easy call. I took it just like if it was any other call; the call was regarding a Spanish speaking father calling the mail order pharmacy to send more medication for his daughter which had a chronic disease and needed the medication right away and was having difficulty since the doctor was out of town, and the medication needed a prior authorization. It was heartbreaking hearing the dad plead to the pharmacist in Spanish “Please if my daughter doesn’t get her medicine she will die!” Hearing him crying on the phone while you can also hear the little girls in the background asking, “what’s wrong daddy? why are you crying?” Those are the type of calls that have made me cry buckets and buckets of tears but still getting through them and taking the next call. It has simply been a dream come true becoming an interpreter and removing those language barriers for others.
One of the things I enjoyed doing while I would interpret was ironing. It is a quiet activity and I would get some house-work done at the same time. The funniest thing that has happened to me while interpreting has definitely been when I fell from my desk while I was interpreting. I was leaning back just relaxing when my chair just broke and I brought down all my notes laptop and everything! I now have the privilege to provide coaching tips to the new interpreters and my best advice has always been enjoy what you do! See your job as valuable as it is providing a service to both the Spanish and English speaking person. Another thing I mention to them is: “At the end of the day pat yourself on the back! Let yourself know what an awesome job you did!”
Hopefully everyone that is an interpreter has loved this experience as much as I have. Thank you for reading!!"
|Posted by rpospina on April 23, 2014 at 1:10 AM|
It's Earth Day! These are some things that we can do as interpreters and translators to help preserve our planet:
1. When possible, take notes with your computer or tablet instead of pen and paper.
2. Be conscious when printing; use both sides of the sheets for your proofreads.
3. Activate the energy-saving settings on your computer and don't leave your monitor on.
4. If you print your business cards, use recycled paper.
5. Avoid buying bottled water; get a reusable thermos instead.
6. Adjust the temperature of your thermostat or open your windows whenever you can.
7. Buy e-books instead of paperbacks.
8. Recycle your electronics.
9. Get fluorescent light bulbs.
10. Shop local. Shop smart. Select Eco-friendly products.
|Posted by rpospina on April 18, 2014 at 5:10 PM|
For this entry, I wanted to start off by offering clarification on what is the difference between a translator and interpreter.
In simple terms, a translator converts text from one language into another. Most translators specialize in certain fields. Also, it is an industry's standard for a translator to convert texts out of a foreign language into their native or mother language as this tends to ensure better results than if it was done the other way around.
There are no classifications for translators per se, only specializations, however some can point out that based on the way their services are provided, they can either be:
Interpreters converts spoken words between two languages and most of the time, interpreters have to work converting messages out of AND into both languages involved.
The work of an interpreter can be categorized several different ways:
Based on location:
Based on the type of interpretation provided:
Professionals that work both as interpreters AND translators are: INTERPRE-TATORS! Get it?