Welcome to Language Time.

A round up on news, events, and happenings in the language world courtesy of Certified Medical Interpreters, LLC.

Always use a certified medical interpreter.  Patient safety first.


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Resettlement starts with access to screenings and healthcare –via The Concodian


Dipshikha Dahal, the refugee coordinator at Family HealthCare center, enters the birth date, Social Security number and address of the refugee sitting across from the desk from her, an Iraqi refugee dressed in a black hijab and a long dress that covers everything but her face. She came to Fargo alone. She quietly states the answers Dipshikha asks. A medical interpreter sits next to the refugee, looking directly at her while relaying Dipshikha’s questions. The interpreter is also from Iraq, but her hijab and dress look as if they were splattered with a multicolored paintbrush.

Every day, at Family Health Care and other medical centers in the local Fargo-Moorhead area, medical interpreters are building bridges of communication for refugees who are trying to create lives separate from the horrors they experienced at home. Medical interpreters like the one helping the Iraqi woman and Jasmine Gehrig, FHC’s medical interpreters manager, are creating more than communication. Gehrig is building a community that she can be proud of by helping refugees find the life they hope to live through her interpreting and the kind acts she does outside of her job description

When resettling in the Fargo-Moorhead area, most refugees’ first stop is the Family Health Care on New American Day, a refugee clinic set up two to three times a month. Here, they receive vaccinations and medical appointments for any personal health concerns. In able to understand what’s happening to them in this new culture, New Americans need someone to interpret their appointments and paperwork. That is where the medical interpreter comes in.

Dipshikha works with all New Americans who come in for the New American clinic. Refugees usually begin by registering with Dipshikha before their first health screening in the U.S.  The interpreters help relay information as refugees go through different stages in the medical clinic. During an appointment with nurse Marlene Espejo, the interpreter and the refugee go over a series of questions to create a current medical history. The interpreter then assists the refugee during the rest of the process by helping him or her understand their shots, blood work and vision and hearing checks. After New American Day, interpreters continue to be there for their patients, within and beyond the walls of FHC.

Since Gehrig has been at FHC, she has helped several refugees make their way through the American medical process. She came to the U.S. from Bosnia in 2001 and was later hired at FHC as a Bosnian medical interpreter for one year. After that she was promoted to management. Since then, she has been managing the interpreters department for nine or ten years.

“We are a little family. We really care for one another,” Gehrig said. “All of us came from a third country because of war or abuse and want to make the best of our lives in a wonderful country.”

Gehrig and her team want to help the refugees do the same by providing them with their interpretive services and skills. Many of the interpreters were refugees and have already gone through the process of settling into the Fargo-Moorhead community. Now that they are in a place to contribute to their new home, Gehrig and her team have decided their mission is to serve everybody, especially New Americans and refugees.

According to Gehrig, the main populations served by FHC are Nepali, Somali and Arabic speaking refugees.  FHC has 25 interpreters, all New Americans. They speak 10 languages including Arabic, Bosnian, Kurdish, Nepali, Vietnamese, Kirundi, Swahili, Somali, Spanish and Kinyarwanda. Other languages can be reached through a language phone line.

The complexities of medical interpreting

The service medical interpreters provide to their clients is quite different from that of a social interpreter. Social interpreters, such as education or community interpreters, will receive only one version of training to serve the community. In the medical field, interpreters need to not only learn the cultures they are assisting, but specific medical terminology as well, Gehrig said.

To read more of this article courtesy of The Concordian —> click here

Governor Martinez Again Vetoes Bill to Improve Court Interpreter Services –via KRWG


Commentary:  For the second time in as many years, Governor Susana Martinez on Wednesday vetoed an uncontroversial measure to improve court interpreter services in New Mexico, putting into focus her past efforts as a District Attorney to keep Spanish-speakers from serving on juries.  Sponsored by Senator Mimi Stewart (D-17-Bernalillo), Senate Bill 210, “Create Court Language Access Fund”, was a measure without fiscal impact that would set up a new fund to be administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) for paying court interpreters and related expenses.  It removed court translators from being paid through the Jury and Witness Fee Fund.  The bill drew the Governor’s veto despite being passed without opposition in both the Senate and House.

“Respect for all languages is part of New Mexico’s culture since its inception, and the New Mexico Constitution gave Spanish speakers unique protections when it was adopted,” said Senator Stewart. “Therefore, it is vital that everyone, regardless of language spoken, has equal access to the courts.”

In 2000, then-DA Susana Martinez took vigorous legal action to disqualify people who do not speak English from serving as jurors, taking her case all the way to the state Supreme Court.  The Constitution of New Mexico protects people who speak and read either English or Spanish, however.  The New Mexico Supreme Court rejected Martinez’s push to keep Spanish-speaking people from serving on juries in Dona Ana County, or anywhere in the state.

In her veto message, the Governor states that it is unnecessary to create a new fund to be managed by the AOC. She either does not understand or does not want to understand that this legislation only segregates funds for interpreter and jury services, which are constitutionally separated, and does not have a fiscal impact on the state. Therefore, signing the bill would have led to better transparency for interpreter and jury expenditure.

To read more of this article courtesy of KRWG—>click here

Summary of HHS’s Proposed Rule on Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities


New rules concerning Limited English Proficiency  (LEP’s) to be released shortly.

This is the original draft summary courtesy of the Kaiser Family foundation…but sources have confirmed the bill is “forthcoming” and will be “published” shortly

To read more of these new initiatives from the Department of Health —-> click here.

For more information on LEP’s from the Department of Health visit their website —->HHS website on LEP



Xerox breaks down language barriers with translation service –via International Business Times


Recognising language as one of the biggest barriers to communication in a world that’s becoming increasingly connected, Xerox has launched its Easy Translator tool that promises comprehensive translation services straight from its machines in real time.

The brand, now synonymous with photocopying, offers its services in more than 35 languages and allows subscribers to scan documents in, say, English, and produce copies in any of its other supported languages.

In addition to the real-time machine translations, Xerox employs over 5,000 translators and offers its services in three levels of expertise: Express, which employs machine translation followed by human editing; Professional, which, according to Xerox, is ideal for contracts and proposals, which is translated and edited by a highly trained, well, professional; and Expert, where the documents are translated and edited by field-experienced, um, experts.

To read more of this article courtesy of the International Business Times —> click here


59 languages spoken in S. Seattle: Clinic’s diverse midwives help diverse moms –via Seattle Times

Midwife Faisa Farole examines (Stuteville's son) Malcolm Stonehill 

Midwife Faisa Farole examines (Stuteville’s son) Malcolm Stonehill

I was entering the third day of labor when they told me I’d have to have a C-section. I was exhausted and scared, shaking under bright white lights as a team of masked strangers crowded around the bed prepping me for surgery. Other than my husband, the only person whose face seemed kind in that moment was that of my midwife.

I’ve spent the last two months since that day getting to know my new son. While that time with him has been amazing (if sleep-deprived), the experience of bringing him into this world was one of the most intense of my life.

Then I try to imagine how much scarier it would have been if I’d had nurses, doctors and midwives who didn’t speak my language or understand my culture. That’s what Jodilyn Owen and a team of midwives and health professionals are trying to provide at a new clinic in South Seattle.

“A woman who is from Ethiopia sits with an Ethiopian midwife — she doesn’t have to explain herself,” says Owen, midwife and co-founder of the South Seattle Women’s Health Foundation. “That’s a profound form of health care.”

To read more of this article courtesy of The Seattle Times —>click here

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