Healthcare Interpreter program at American River College

The healthcare interpreting field is a relatively
new field. Sacramento is the most diverse city in the United States. There is definitely
a big need for the interpreters in Sacramento because of our diversity. What I love most is the idea that I’m going
to be able to help my community. I would like to become a social worker, but I know it’s
going to take a long time. So in the meantime, I would like to start as a medical interpreter. We’re going to talk about it. You’ll have
a full lab appointment in two weeks. [Student translating in Spanish] This is a program for bilingual students.
We teach them how to interpret so they need to learn terminology in both languages and
be very familiar with terminology in both languages. We get in front of the class in the group and
we practice role-plays. Those are real-life scenarios. We practice someone being the interpreter,
the doctor, and patient—just how it would be in the hospital interpreting, just to get
a feel of what that would be like. We take turns being the interpreter so everyone gets
a chance to interpret. Illnesses run in the family. [Student translating in Russian] Being in front of class too gets us a little
more comfortable being out in public. We’re not judged here. We’re kind of like a family
so we get to help each other out helping with terms or how it could be done, or what better
term can we use in a certain situation. During the class, besides learning healthcare
terminology, we are also learning about different cultures, American healthcare system, the
insurance system, and also about traditional medicine from their home countries. And then we have our times when we break into
groups, and then she’ll go around and helping us. We also have our language coaches too
who will help us and observe us to make sure that we are doing the correct job and helping
us with terminology as well. We have many doctors come here and tell us
about their experiences working with interpreters and that is really helpful. Every week we have different doctors for different
topics that we’re studying. They’ll come in and talk about what they expect to see
from an interpreter, which is nice to hear from a doctor what they expect from us. During the class we are working on the skills
of the interpreter. How fast can you react in different situations. What if your patient
is suddenly asking you not to interpret something. It could be a little bit tricky. One word
can have several meanings. And not every meaning would be very appropriate for certain situations,
so they do help us a lot with that. Every day when you come home you feel like
you made the world a better place. I love to go and interpret in the field and I love
to share my passion about this with my students. It’s not only your career but you can also
go out there, do what you love to do, help others—it all sounds very exciting to me. When I got into this program, I wasn’t sure
what to expect. But I’ve been learning so much and it’s just been good. I’ve noticed
myself just getting so much stronger in Russian and English, and I just feel myself growing.
So yeah, if someone’s interested in this in doing healthcare interpreting, this is
definitely the program to do.

1 comment

  1. I'm interested in this program. And I know it's not ideal to cater terminology and experience specifically for each language, so how does one improve on interpreting?

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