This project offers a unique opportunity to explore both interpreting in medical settings and in managing interactive events as an interpreter. Originally conceived as a companion to “To the Heart of the Matter: The Cardiovascular System in ASL and English,” this CD offers strategies and resources for developing your competency in interpreting information that might be discussed in a cardiology appointment. On top of this, the CD is also designed to allow you to observe and practice how to effectively manage interactive interpreting situations.
For this project, Roger Brown, and his wife, Anna Rabbers-Brown, played the role of a Deaf couple coming to an appointment with Dr. Steven Riendl, a cardiologist in practice with HealthPartners. According to the scenario, Roger was experiencing short- ness of breath and his wife urged him to come in to be seen. Nancy Niggley, who is a staff interpreter with HealthPartners, interpreted the interaction. In our filming, we actually ended up in the examination room waiting for the doctor to come from another appointment, we took advantage of that to have Roger tell about another medical experience…much in the way an interpreter might ask for parallel information to get a better sense of language use and to fill the time while waiting for the doctor. The actual appointment was filmed with two cameras, and is offered in a variety of ways to allow for the most effective practice in managing interactions. One perspective is solely that of the interpreter (and has all semblances of the interpretation removed) so that you can practice being the actual interpreter for the appointment. This is offered both in consecutive format (pausing at the end of each turn) and simultaneous (running straight through in the actual amount of time taken during filming.) The sec- ond perspective uses both camera angles and shows both the Deaf consumers and the interpreter and doctor. This allows for an observational approach of seeing how the event was actually interpreted, and what the feedback from the consumers were to the interpreter. Finally, after having had a chance to view the interpretations, Nancy offers perspectives on her work so that you can have some insight into the choices she made and what she might do differently if she could.
All of this is placed in a theoretical framework for understanding interpreted interactions which comes from the work of Dr. Melanie Metzger and Dr. Cynthia Roy, who have both done significant research on interpreting interactive discourse. I am grateful for their research and for their willingness to share their insights with our profession. In looking at the total project, I am excited by its potential and feel like it is moving to a new level in what is possible from a single piece of plastic. The wonders of the digital age.