Impact Stories

You Can’t Interpret What You Don’t Understand

May 6, 2021

I found these words ringing in my ear this morning as I heard the orthopedist say something about cartilage and bone and genetics. Then, he showed the x-ray to the mother and told her there was nothing to worry about. That her son would be fine. I could tell she had been burdened by the…

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Language Diversity Amongst Indigenous Populations

April 14, 2021

It’s commonly known that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States. The promise of work and “una vida tranquila” (a quiet life) attract Spanish speakers from many parts of the world. Here in Kentucky much of the available jobs are in the horse industry or connected to the tourist dollars it…

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When Death and Culture Collide

February 26, 2021

Some of the most humbling experiences I have had as an interpreter have been when I have been entrusted with the communication between a doctor and the family of a loved one on life support. I have been involved in enough of these conversations to know to start collecting clues to the cultural bumps we…

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Adventures in Medical Interpreting

September 16, 2020

It seemed like it would be so easy. To get to speak another language and assist in communicating in some pretty important situations. And sometimes it is easy. No one speaks out of turn, there is no need to clarify terms or cultural issues, and no one asks the interpreter to do something outside of…

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