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Questions for Translator at the UMD Health Center:

1. General information about the translator:


a. What is your native language?
Spanish
b. How long have you worked as a medical translator?
26 Years
c. How many patients do you see that need a translator every day?
It varies depending on the locale and the type of season but currently averages
between 2 and 3 patients a day
d. What type of degree do you have? Do you need special certifications to be a
medical translator?
Currently, she does not hold a degree no certification of any specific kind. She
explained that during the time when she became a Medical Translator, it was not required to
hold either. As of more recently, she said that a certification was required for translating but the
person does not need to hold any specific degree in a Medical Field.
e. How did you learn the medical terminology required to be a medical translator?
On the job. Very little was explained through a textbook and she would mostly
ask doctors and nurses for clarification on terminology she did not understand.
2. Impact of a medical translator
a. What level of importance do you think a translator has with communicating in the
medical field?
From a personal standpoint, she feels that translators provide an essential bridge
between two people to accurately explaining important aspects of daily life to the patient
including specific medications and how to use them or explaining dietary restrictions.
b. How important is understanding various cultures in being able to be an effective
translator? Is it important for a translator to be able to tailor the information based
on the patients’ cultures?
Within Latin America, there are various countries that use different words that
have the same broad definitions therefore, it is important to understand these different cultures
to understand these words to accurately be able to translate. The translator must always be
able to tailor information to the patient to smooth the process of understanding and to not create
confusion.
i. I.e. information is given in Imperial units but you translate to Metric?
Yes
c. What is the impact/importance of bilingual health care providers?
She feels the importance of bilingual health care providers to not act as a third
party advocate for their patients and maintain the professionality of acting a translator.
i. What are the similarities and differences in the responsibilities of a
bilingual health care provider and a medical translator?
Both hold the responsibility of being precise and direct. She explained
that you must remain neutral in all situations and provide only as far as the patient needs.
3. About the job
a. How much medical knowledge (other than basic terminology) is required to be a
medical translator?
From her personal experience, she did not receive formal classes or instruction
by a professor on how to do her job. Now, there are certifications and board exams that must be
completed in order to be a medical translator.
b. Is this something learned by experience on the job or by education?
She feels that is learned by experience.
c. What is the most difficult part of being a medical translator?
Being emotionally detached from the situation. She gave an example of having to
explain to a patient that they have been diagnosed with cancer and being forced to remain
impartial because it is her job only to translate.
d. What would you consider to be your 3 biggest responsibilities as a medical
translator?
Focus, Translate Accurately and Practice
e. Are there any ethical guidelines that are mandated in terms of misunderstandings
or miscommunication?
HIPAA
4. Other Questions
1. What kinds of projects?
She previously worked with a Lawyer but as of now, she is not currently working
on any projects.
2. What are the most common audiences and purposes for these writing projects?
Doctors/nurses and patients with some team collaboration
3. What kind of people she collaborate/interact with?
She translates for all departments which include but are not limited to human
resources, pharmacy and business.
4.Where does her writing circulate?
Circulates within clinical facilities.
5. What, if anything, do you know about the person’s background, in terms of her writing
education?
Took a course on “How to be an Interpreter?” at the beginning of her career from Clinca
Del Pueblo.
Other Experience:
1. Columbia Road Health Service/Unity Health Services
2. Clinca Del Pueblo Medicenter in Washington DC
3. Spanish-Catholic Center in Washington DC
4. University of Maryland, College Park Health Center