A Bible for Healthcare Interpreters? (Part 1)

A new resource for our profession

This is the first of a three-part series reviewing the book, Introduction to Healthcare for Interpreters and Translators by Ineke Crezee.  This segment features an interview with the author and an understanding of the motivation for writing this volume.  Part 2 focuses on the actual content delivered in the book and how it can be used.  Part 3 focuses on the pros and cons of the different available formats.

English Version

As interpreters in healthcare settings, we often are called into a variety of settings that we may not have in-depth knowledge about. It may be a meeting with a rheumatologist, an appointment with a cardiologist, or a visit to a edicrinologist. Unless we work in a setting with a large staff of interpreters, we work as generalists in a field full of specialists. Out of this reality comes a need for an effective resource to support the quality of our services for both patient and provider.

Ineke Crezee

Dr. Ineke Crezee – click on the picture for more information about her background and academic career

Ineke Crezee, an interpreter, translator, and educator based at Auckland University of Technology, responded to this need by writing Introduction to Healthcare for Interpreters and Translators. In a conversation about her motivation for the book, Ineke was clear that the idea was not her own. Instead, it came from her students: in 1996, a woman who worked as a Vietnamese-English interpreter approached Ineke and explained the type of book that she was looking for as an interpreter in healthcare settings. Ideally, the student thought, the book would be divided into different specialties with each chapter including:

  • an overview of the particular body system,
  • an explanation of Latin and Greek roots in medical terminology that might be employed,
  • common conditions and their signs and symptoms, and
  • procedures or tests that might be utilized in diagnosis and treatment.

After hearing this request, Ineke realized that there was no such book, and “that I’m going to have to write that book myself.”  So, she took on this challenge and originally self-published a book that became a constant companion to numerous interpreters and translators working in healthcare in New Zealand.

The success of the “Blue Book,” as it was called (because of its cover) by the community of interpreters and translators who used it, provided the foundation for the updated edition published by John Benjamins.

I did have the opportunity to talk with Ineke (once we figured out the challenge of scheduling across the international date line.  I don’t often get the chance to be in Monday talking to someone on Tuesday.)  What was clear in our conversation is that her primary mission with the book is to provide a practical resource – both for practitioners and educators – that will help raise the standard for interpreters and translators in healthcare settings.  I am excited to have the chance soon to review the book and assess how well this resource fulfills its mission.

I look forward to sharing that assessment – along with more insight from my conversation with Ineke Crezee – in the next few weeks.

What the Book Contains

Part    I.    Interpreting
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Interpreting in healthcare settings
Chapter 3. A word about culture
Chapter 4. Medical terminology

Part    II.    Interpreting in healthcare settings
Chapter 5. Primary physicians and General Practitioners
Chapter 6. Outpatient Clinics and specialist clinics
Chapter 7. Hospitals
Chapter 8. Emergency Departments or ERs
Chapter 9. Informed consent
Chapter 10. Pre-operative and post-operative procedures
Chapter 11. Intensive Care
Chapter 12. Obstetrics
Chapter 13. Child health
Chapter 14. Speech Language Therapy
Chapter 15. Mental health
Chapter 16. Oncology

Part    III.    Healthcare    Specialties
Chapter 17. Neurology: Nerves and the nervous system
Chapter 18. Cardiology: Heart and the circulatory system
Chapter 19. The respiratory system
Chapter 20. Hematology: Blood and blood disorders
Chapter 21. Orthopedics: The skeletal system
Chapter 22. Muscles and the motor system
Chapter 23. The sensory system
Chapter 24. The immune and lymphatic system
Chapter 25. The endocrine system
Chapter 26. The digestive system
Chapter 27. Urology and nephrology: The urinary system
Chapter 28. The reproductive system


[button link=”http://healthcareinterpreting.org/bible-healthcare-interpreters-new-resource-profession-part-2-3/” type=”big” button color=”green”] Contents: Part 2 of Review[/button]