Richard Laurion signs as Carol Patrie and Laurie Swabey look on

Career Lattice for Healthcare Interpreter

This Day 2 morning  session was co-presented by Richard Laurion, Laurie Swabey and Carol Patrie on behalf of the CATIE Center.  Before I talk about the content of their talk, can I just say what a delight it is to attend a session that mixes the personal with the professional, is clearly presented, uses visuals so well, and allows us as participants to reflect on the ideas being recorded.  Each presenter started out with pictures and anecdotes from their early experiences with health care in Grade 2.  If you see Richard Laurion, ask him to tell you his merry-go-round story!

  • Carol Patrie talks growing up connected to Rochester School for the Deaf

    Photo Credit: Rebecca Zenefski, By Rebecca Studios

    Carol Patrie laughts as she introduces herself with picture of Rochester School for the Deaf in background
  • Laurie Swabey shares her journey with healthcare interpreting

    Photo Credit: Rebecca Zenefski, By Rebecca Studios

    Laurie Swabey signs as Carol Patrie looks on
  • Richard Laurion tells his Merry-go-round of Terror story

    Photo Credit: Rebecca Zenefski, By Rebecca Studios

    Richard Laurion signs as Carol Patrie and Laurie Swabey look on

The career lattice for moving from novice healthcare interpreter to intermediate to specialistThe health care lattice is a significant step towards developing a career path for interpreters who want to enter into health care interpreting, or to advance within the field. It also provides a schematic and resources to assist teachers in preparing students to work in this field.

The presenters outlined the revisions and steps they have taken to gather feedback from stakeholders in developing the lattice.  They first collected feedback from a survey, and then subsequently held 4 focus groups consisting of 7 – 10 people meeting for 1 -2 hours, answering four specific questions.

Download PDF of Healthcare Interpreting Career Lattice

1. What is the greatest problem in health care interpreting?

Respondents said there are not enough qualified interpreters. Interpreters lack the context of the medical setting, have a lack of world knowledge, and don’t have the emotional capacity needed for this work.  They also noted that many hearing interpreters won’t call for a Deaf Interpreter when one is needed, and that Deaf patients sometimes don’t get to choose an interpreter they feel comfortable with.

2. What did you like about the lattice?

It’s easy to understand, great that an interpreter can enter at different points, that it treats interpreting in healthcare as a specialty, and that it parallels medical training.

3. What would you change?

The changes suggested have already been incorporated into the current lattice model 🙂

4. How would the lattice be used?

This is still under development. There is currently no certification for health care interpreters, no trained mentors in place to assist novice interpreters, and no enforcement for interpreters to follow the suggested lattice. The certification panel scheduled for Saturday morning will be very interesting in light of this–perhaps it is time for this to be developed.  Meanwhile the CATIE Center continues to offer a number of educational opportunities for interpreters to become proficient in the health care setting, such as medical interpreting immersions, online resources (such as the Body Language modules), the case studies manual, and the healthcare interpreting fellowship (more on the latter tomorrow).

I just want to express my admiration and appreciation to the CATIE Center for this work, and all that they have done and continue to do to advance the state of health care interpreting nation wide.