Reporting from Finding the Parallels: Interpreting in medical and judicial settings

500px-Seal_of_Orlando,_Florida.svgA conference report has just been published on a boutique event held in Orlando, Florida in August this year called Finding the Parallels: Interpreting in medical and judicial settings. It brought together stakeholders from the health, legal and language service provision sectors.

The following is a brief overview of the conference, and you can download the full report here.

The Value Added Proposition

A keynote address was made by Rob Cruz, Chair of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators. Mr. Cruz pointed out the importance of shared knowledge, complementary work and support.

Identifying the Parallels

A panel discussion, led by James Plunkett, Coordinator of Interpreting Services at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, compared the certification processes developed by the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters, and the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters.

The Rules of Engagement

The second panel was led by Izabel Arocha, Executive Director of the International Medical Interpreters Association, who moderated presentations by Prof. Holly Mikkelson, Adjunct Professor of Translation and Interpretation at the Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation of the Monterey Institute of International Studies (CA), and Prof. Armando Ezquerra Hasbun, Certified Federal Court Interpreter, certified trainer for medical interpreters and Adjunct Professor at La Salle University (PA).

The panel highlighted the difference in the roles of the interpreter in each setting due to the very nature of the exchanges between the stakeholders.

In judicial interpreting the adversarial nature of the setting accommodates minimal interference by the interpreter who, as an ad hoc officer of the court, is expected to remain neutral and ensure that all parties have equal footing in the exchange.

The neutral stance expected from a judicial interpreter is out of place in a clinical encounter where the interpreter is also a patient advocate. In a clinical encounter all parties desire a positive outcome for the patient and work together to achieve that.

Skills Development and Training Sessions

  • Legal Interpreting Ethics
  • Note-Taking for Medical and Judiciary Interpreters
  • Visual Simultaneous
  • Applied Ethics for Medical Interpreters
  • Weaponology

One key conclusion of the conference:

Language Access is not an interpreter issue. It’s a rights issue. And compliance is not optional.

Credit: Warm thanks to Gio Lester, the conference organizer, for making the report available.

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