ATA Medical Translation and Interpreting Seminar

Abstracts and Biographies  

Ethical Codes and Ethical Dilemmas in Medical Interpreting
Cornelia Brown and Bruce T. Downing

Beginning with a draft code of medical interpreting ethics developed by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, we will explore concepts and situations encountered by medical interpreters in the field. We will look at a range of approaches, including those from the audience, and offer our own viewpoint.

Cornelia E. Brown, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Multicultural Association of Medical Interpreters of Central New York (MAMI), an independent, non-profit interpreting and translation organization in Utica, NY, dedicated to ensuring equal access to health care for speakers of limited English by providing professional language services. In addition to directing MAMI, Dr. Brown works for MAMI as a Russian interpreter and as the medical interpreting instructor. She is a licensed trainer for Bridging the Gap and an ATA-accredited translator for Russian to English. Before founding MAMI, she worked four years as Translation Coordinator for a NY law firm developing legislation for the Former Soviet Republics. She taught Comparative Literature at Hamilton College 1994-1995 and is now a Scholar-In-Residence there. She holds a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley.

Bruce T. Downing, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Linguistics and Director of the Program in Translation and Interpreting at the University of Minnesota. He is co-author of the monograph Professional Training for Community Interpreters (1991) and has published articles on linguistics, translation, and interpreting. Dr. Downing is a member of the National Council on Interpretation in Health Careís Committee on Standards, Training, and Certification. He is also a member of the ATA Interpreter Policy Advisory Committee and served (1999-2001) as the ATA representative to the ASTM Subcommittee on Interpreter Standards.  


Legal Issues in the Translation of Healthcare Documents
Maria Cornelio

This session will focus on government regulations that address writing for the healthcare consumer. It will cover topics such as patients' rights, informed consent and the protection of human subjects in medical research studies.

These topics will be examined as they relate to the translation of healthcare documents. The major areas to be addressed are: frequently mistranslated terms; various patient populations and reading level of documents; things to keep in mind when translating specific types of documents, such as informed consent forms, educational materials, and medical research questionnaires.  

Maria Cornelio has been Director of the Hispanic Research and Recruitment Center (HRRC) at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City since 1996. She oversees recruitment and language-support programs for Spanish-speaking patients in clinical studies and provides training sessions for clinical researchers whose studies include non-English-speaking patients. Ms. Cornelio serves as Spanish-Language Consultant to the New York State Psychiatric Institute, where she reviews all Spanish translations submitted to the Institutional Review Board of that institution, and has taught English-to-Spanish Translation in Healthcare at New York Universityís Center for Foreign Languages and Translation since 1999. She holds a Masterís Degree in International Studies from the University of Denver and a "Diplome díEtudes Françaises" from the University of Poitiers, France. She spent a year studying at the University of Seville, Spain, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a major in Spanish and a minor in French from Hunter College of the City University of New York.


Beyond Bilingualism: The Role of Telephonic Interpreting in Facilitating Cultural Competency
Janet Erickson-Johnson, MA, Translation and Interpretation Certification Manager, Language Line Services

The issue of cultural competency is one of crucial concern for interpreters in all fields, but especially in Healthcare where the interpreterís roles often include that of a cultural broker. There has been considerable debate about the appropriate use of telephonic interpreting in healthcare settings, especially in the emergency room. This presentation will explore the ways in which telephonic interpreting can actually facilitate the exercise of cultural competency in the ER and other medical settings, as well as some of the unique advantages to remote interpretation services in critically emergent situations.

Janet Erickson-Johnson has been the Certification Manager for Language Line Services since January 2000, and in that capacity, has overseen the administration and development of certification testing in the Medical, Court, and Insurance industries for LLSí interpreter workforce. She received her Mastersí Degree in Translation and Interpretation (English/Spanish) from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 1994, after having translated a book on ADD/HD from Spanish into English as her Mastersí Thesis. Prior to pursuing these graduate level studies, Ms. Erickson-Johnson spent 10 years as a bilingual teacher and Teacher Trainer in Costa Rica, from 1979-1983, as well as in California, from 1985-1989, working as a translator and interpreter for monolingual Spanish-speaking teachers from Mexico and Central America. She also completed a Medical Interpreting Internship at Stanford University Hospital in Stanford, California, in 1991. As a California Administrative Hearing Certified Interpreter (1990), Janet worked as a professional free-lance interpreter for 10 years before joining Language Line Services, interpreting for medical appointments, medical-legal proceedings, court proceedings, administrative hearings, educational conferences, and a variety of other settings. She was a presenter at the 2000 Massachusetts Medical Interpreters Association (MMIA) Annual Conference and is also a member of the California Health Interpreters Association (CHIA).  


A Crash Course in Experimental Design and Inferential Statistics for Biomedical Translators
Dr. Lydia Razran Stone

The procedures of experimental design and inferential statistics are used by researchers in the biomedical and social sciences to plan their experiments and assess the significance of their results. These procedures involve specific, abstruse-seeming, but well-defined terminology, which permeates scientific journals in these fields, potentially causing translation problems. In at least some languages, Russian for example, appropriate translations of terms in these areas are difficult or impossible to find in dictionaries. The proposed workshop will provide an overview of the procedures and terms in statistics and research design from the standpoint of translation. The treatment will be conceptual and will not involve mathematics. Handouts will be provided with definitions and translations of terms discussed in Russian and, if the presenter can find appropriate consultants, other major European languages.

Dr. Lydia Razran Stone, the editor of SlavFile, a publication of the Slavic Language Division, is a literary and technical translator of Russian. She has a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, taught statistics as a graduate assistant, and has published a number of original research papers involving use of the terms and concepts covered in this workshop. She gained familiarity with translation biomedical research journals during more than 10 years as a biomedical translator for NASA. Lately, she has been providing consultation on psychometric matters to the Accreditation Committee, which she has just joined.  


The Language of Medicine
Davi-Ellen Chabner

The Language of Medicine demonstrates a unique method of teaching, in which students learn how to divide complex medical terms into their component parts. The meanings of these terms are carefully described in the context of how the body works in health and disease. An introduction of word analysis and terminology from the body as a whole is followed by a focus on body systems and medical specialties. Laboratory tests, clinical procedures, medical reports, and practical applications are included throughout the session. Students learn to master the medical language through word analysis and seeing terminology in action. Terminology and complex medical processes are presented in an easy-to-understand manner for students of all levels.

Davi-Ellen Chabner, author of The Language of Medicine and Medical Terminology: A Short Course, has had an extensive career as a medical terminology teacher. After graduating from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Zoology and Physiology and from Harvard University with a M.A.T. in Science Teaching, Chabner was asked to teach a medical terminology course at the National Institute of Health. While trying to find the best way to teach terminology that was essentially a foreign language to students, Chabner began to develop her own specific learning materials, called "worksheets." These worksheets presented the material in easy-to-understand language (presupposing no previous background in science or biology), and involved students in the learning process. The first edition of The Language of Medicine was published in 1976 and Chabner continues to publish new editions as well as audiotapes, instructor's manuals, and a CD-roms, a medical instant translator.