Exploring the Career of a Medical Interpreter with Experts

Sep 19, 2023

Dr. Lee (00:00:03):

Good evening. This is Dr. Lee. We are here with, uh, MiTio expert interpreter panel. Uh, we're going to be talking today with two amazing, uh, facilitators and coaches and experience interpreters, certified experience interpreters, uh, with me to you. So first we have Tatiana Ford, and we also have Dr. Pe. I'm going to allow them to introduce themselves, give them, give us a little bit of their bio, and then we're going to ask them questions about what it's like to be an interpreter today and, uh, and just kind of dig deep into, uh, into the world of interpreting. Uh, so Tatiana, if you don't mind giving us a little bit of your bio, and, uh, and then we'll go with Dr. Um,

Tatiana Ford (00:00:50):

Sure. Uh, my name is Tatiana Ford. I was born in Russia, Saline Island. For those of you who don't know, this is the eastern fathers eastern border of Russia. It's a pretty large island north of Japan. Hence, uh, my further education, uh, I started Japanese and English in the university. Well, it started as, um, teachers train in institute, and then it grew into SAC and State University. So I started in, uh, oriental faculty, and after that I worked for one Japanese company. First, uh, it was retailed, and then I switched to oil and gas company, which was still, um, an, um, joint venture between Japanese, uh, Russian and American companies. And, uh, worked in that industry for a while and then moved to, um, United Arab Emirates, where I continued with the same company. So my interpreting role, um, there were other job descriptions, but interpreting was always kind of within, you know, throughout my work, because we always worked internationally and well, you know, with different, um, international companies, uh, later on here in the States, um, I was really trying to implement my education, but somehow it didn't quite work.

Tatiana Ford (00:02:12):

So, for a while, I had a break from that particular profession and go, happened. I never had online education. Um, I was a little bit skeptical about it, but honestly, sometimes bad things lead to good things. I found material, got my, uh, you know, online diploma course when immediately for certifications successfully. Got it. And I started working with material as facilitator, which I absolutely love, because at the moment we did not have Russian facilitator. Um, so I'm pretty happy to be here. Oh, and I forgot to mention that while in the Middle East, I also received my degree in psychology with counseling. And my, uh, thesis was ironically about the wellbeing of, uh, uh, wives in bilingual versus monolingual, um, marriages. So that's that. All, all the pieces of the puzzle now kind of come in handy where I am now. So I also now work with AMN Healthcare, who now partnered with material, uh, as an interpreter. Absolutely enjoyed. So here we are.

Dr. Lee (00:03:30):

Wonderful. Thank you for that. Bio Tatiana Ford. Okay, Dr. Z.

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:03:35):

Oh, um, hi everyone. This is Paige John. Um, I was born in China and I spent my first 20 years in China. I, um, for college, I studied medicine, uh, in China. It's, um, after post high school degree for to study medicine for five years. So I have, um, medical degree from China, and then I decided to, uh, go to Europe for my master's degree. And then I also subsequently did a PhD there in neuroscience. So my thesis was about Alzheimer's disease, why people forget, why people remember, and those kind of things. Um, so also during my, uh, bachelor's study, I did one year exchange in Japan. So I was kind of a bit, um, all of the world. And so I, uh, Japanese and French and German during my, um, earlier, um, stage of life. And after my PhD, I, um, would move to, I wanted to move to the United States with my husband because of his work.

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:04:33):

And, um, I was thinking I didn't like research anymore. And, um, I, I'm tired of killing mice every day for getting bloody hands and things. Um, so I found online, and this is a wonderful online education opportunity. So I actually completed my, uh, material course in while I was still in Germany. And I, uh, also, uh, took the CMI National Certification test when I was in Germany. So it all, um, all worked out pretty well. And after I came to the United States, I could immediately get a job, this, uh, Mass General Hospital as a hospital interpreter. So I was, um, very happy with the opportunity I could get with me. Um, now I'm a stay at home mom, uh, but I'm kind of doing some side jobs for me as a facilitator. Also consulting, also, um, patterns work. So I'm, um, uh, I'm a freelancer right now. I would say that's where I am.

Dr. Lee (00:05:31):

I love that. And the fact that language has allowed you guys to do that, right? Just the freedom to, to work in various places, whether it's in person, online, remotely, so that's amazing. Um, so, okay. So we are going to now launch directly into the questions that were submitted, and we're just going to make, make this as conversational as possible. So, uh, for anyone out there that doesn't know about the industry, you guys are the experts and you, I, I want you guys to really just educate them on that, on these things. Okay. So the first question that I have is, uh, and we'll just go back and forth with who starts. Okay. So we'll start with, um, with you Tatiana first, um, why did you choose to become an interpreter?

Tatiana Ford (00:06:18):

Well, um, I was born behind the iron curtain. Um, some of you, the younger ones may have to Google what it is, I won't, uh, be taking time explaining. So anything foreign, it was something unattainable and, um, fascinating. So also, I loved where I was, I didn't want to travel what they called the mainland for the university. And we had the university right there. And the best, the most prestigious was Japanese and English. So I went for it. Uh, absolutely enjoyed it because we always had, you know, uh, teachers from Japan and the States and UK. And, um, plus our languages kind of always been my theme. I guess both of my parents are teachers of Russian and literature. So since I was really little, I would be scolded like, no, there is no such Russian word, or, No, this is not the stressed syllable and stuff like that. At first it was annoying, but I guess it kind of, you grow into it and then it becomes your second nature. So, um, and it was a door into a completely different world now, literally <laugh>, you know? Yeah. So somehow, yeah, it was something I really wanted to do early on.

Dr. Lee (00:07:40):

Wonderful. Uh, and Dr. Hay, what about you? Why did, why did you want to become an interpreter?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:07:49):

Just like ta I was interested in languages, um, since a very young age. So, um, in China, um, if you study English, well, then you get, um, kinds of, all kinds of opportunities of like, um, school exchange program, like scholarships and those kind of things. So I really enjoyed learning languages, and I had this motivation and, um, so I wanted to put it to good use also that, um, I studied medicine. So I think medical interpreter is, sounds like the right combination for me at the moment. That's why I decided.

Dr. Lee (00:08:23):

Awesome. Well, we'll stay with you. Um, why do you say that there are pros and cons to working remotely as an interpreter? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:08:32):

Uh, I think the only cons I can think about is that you don't interact so much with, uh, colleagues or you don't meet new people every day, like in a real office. But, um, the pros are so much for me right now, because now if I look at job opportunities, the first thing I'm looking at is, can I work remotely please? Because I need to take care of my baby right now. But my husband can used to work every day, so I need to stay home with my daughter 24 7. So working remotely is the, the big benefit. And also, um, it, um, is very flexible. The time that you can set when you want to work, even if my baby sleeps at 11:00 PM then I can work after midnight if I want. So that's very flexible,

Dr. Lee (00:09:13):

Right? Cause there's people of, you know, 24 7 somewhere in the world, right?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:09:18):


Dr. Lee (00:09:19):

Very good.

Tatiana Ford (00:09:20):

They forgot to mention that also. And I've learned that term just recently. Have you ever heard of a Zoom learn made <laugh>? No.

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:09:29):

I was that

Tatiana Ford (00:09:30):

When you don't have to care how your low body looks like, nobody, you know what you wearing, you can get really comfortable, yoga, whatever, but you know,

Dr. Lee (00:09:41):

The, the top is presentable, right?

Tatiana Ford (00:09:43):

Yeah. And, um, I mean, um, as for the cons, they're not huge, but there are some, just to be fair, uh, sitting a lot. So my advice would be do get a comfortable chair. Do get a good desk. I absolutely love my L-shaped that You can also, you know, change the height in case if your background allows you to stand sometimes. Great. Um, other than that, just like, Hey, I don't think there are any other cons. You don't commute mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so you don't really, you know, spend so much time getting from place to place. Flexibility definitely is, um, a plus. Um, one thing about, uh, being able to go on site, though, this really allows you to kind of learn things from within. But then again, maybe just several, um, appointments here and there are enough to kind of get that. And once you're familiar with it already, when you see it on the video, you are including.

Dr. Lee (00:10:48):

Okay. Let, let's dig deep a little bit on that. I know that I've heard and anecdotally that, um, when you work remotely, you're not getting as many appointments. Do you guys, have you guys experienced that, you know, as far as the, the pay, is there a pay gap working remotely versus working? Um, on site?

Tatiana Ford (00:11:10):

On site? Our, our wage is higher, but again, you can only squeeze so many appointments in certain, So basically, I would think it probably evens it out. Okay. Or maybe, uh, depending on what, how exactly you work, whether you're paid per hour, per minute, some freelancers are paid per minute. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I would think, I would suspect that together you probably will get a better pay remotely simply because you can squeeze more, uh, into, you know, a unit of time without traveling from place to place.

Dr. Lee (00:11:48):


Tatiana Ford (00:11:49):

Unless you are facility, which I doubt.

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:11:54):

Got it. I think some online remote, um, interpreting complaint, they also pay you for every hour that you're sitting there ready to interpret. Not how many minutes you interpret, but how many hours you're ready be there.

Dr. Lee (00:12:05):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. Okay. So

Tatiana Ford (00:12:07):

It varies. Yeah. There are some that, and it's up to you because flexibility is really important. Say for, especially when you start, you may not want to sign up for full hour. You can try just per minute rates just to kind of get the feel of it. And then yes, you commit, but then it's, it's more fixed to schedule Yeah. Five hours until it doesn't matter how many calls you receive, which I have to say we're pretty busy.

Dr. Lee (00:12:34):

Okay. Pretty

Tatiana Ford (00:12:35):

Busy. Yeah.

Dr. Lee (00:12:36):

Awesome. So you guys have not, I'm going to dig deep a little bit more on this one. So you, do you find that your languages that you're, that you're interpreting, are they, do they keep you busy enough? I know you answered kind of answer that question, Tayana, but I, I've heard also from other interpreters that it's really hard to, you know, to get enough hours with certain languages. You know, we know that Spanish is very much needed in, in the us but what about the other languages? So you guys both speak other languages other than Spanish. So what are your experiences there? Dr. Dr p

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:13:11):

Oh, Oh, yeah. Uh, for, for Mandarin, I think the market is pretty big. Um, I get plenty of opportunities if I search online for Mandarin interpreting opportunities. I, I can, if I want to get the job, I, I think I can go out there and get it. So I, there are plenty of opportunities for Mandarin.

Dr. Lee (00:13:31):


Tatiana Ford (00:13:34):

Question. Uh, I would think it really depends geographically, if we're talking about on site, then definitely the size of the community of particular language matters. And I would, I would say, I assume that people who live on the coast would get more opportunity to work on site. Say I'm in Arizona, there's literally almost none. I've only been to two onsite, um, no appointments. But, uh, then depend when you work remotely, it doesn't really matter where you are. It all depends on how many, um, languages this company provides, you know, the company you work for. And, um, I work for pretty large company and they provide service in so many languages. And like I said, um, we're obvious sometimes they, they, we even know, they even sometimes showcase here's a small, you know, uh, time unit where we've show low coverage, can someone else step in? So it's pretty easy. I was surprised. Yeah. Pleasantly surprise.

Dr. Lee (00:14:38):

Very good. That's good to know. All right, well, let's move on. Uh, the next question is, do you experience a salary, salary difference between being certified or non-certified? So you're both certified, but did you guys experience a, a salary increase once you became certified?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:14:57):

Um, I, I would, Oh, I would start first. And so when I first came to United States, I got this job at mgh, but back then I just sit, I have set the, uh, already exam, but I haven't got the result yet. So they give me a base salary for starting. And after a month or so, I received the result that I passed. So I told my manager immediately and I got a raise, the hourly rate immediately raised. So there's a difference for sure.

Dr. Lee (00:15:25):

So it did, it did help for you. Awesome.

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:15:28):


Tatiana Ford (00:15:29):

It, it definitely does work. Uh, uh, first of all, some companies even show immediately, like, this is what it will be if you are just, you know, if you're not certified, certified, and then they're like other, Um, some companies show significant difference between the two certified versus, uh, UN certified. Um, and uh, when I was, uh, being hired or in the middle of the interview, I think they either missed the fact that I was certified or something, and they first kind of gave me a certain number and I was a little bit, Oh, okay. And they go, Oh my God, no, you're certified. Right? So there, okay, that was much better.

Dr. Lee (00:16:13):

That a better, better price.

Tatiana Ford (00:16:15):

Absolutely. There is a difference. Yes.

Dr. Lee (00:16:17):

Wonderful. Ok. So for all our perspective and current interpreters out there, our current students rather becoming certified as students possible, definitely help. Sure.

Tatiana Ford (00:16:28):


Dr. Lee (00:16:30):

So let's continue. Can you explain the difference between a certified interpreter and a non-certified interpreter? Uh, all the benefits. So we talked about the benefit in terms of salary. Are there any other benefits that you have found? Let's start with you, Tatiana.

Tatiana Ford (00:16:45):

Uh, I, the one that was standing out immediately to me, because what I did, um, I did not go looking for a job. I told myself, I will get certified first. I wasn't even trying. So in that respect, uh, and the researcher will tell you, this is a little bit of what can found in variable, isn't it? I have nothing to compare with, but I didn't even want to try. But what I found is when you're certified, first of all, you show up in certain, uh, registries, like, uh, CMI here and there. And when employers are looking, they're looking for certified for, well, they will hire whatever they need, how many they need. But for sure, if you're certified, you will be picked first. And on many occasions, I was the one contacted by employers. Not that I had to look though, I was looking, but it definitely kind of, uh, puts you, you know, you are being seen by employers and it's easier for employer to hire certified or interpreter that they can skip all the, you know, testing.

Dr. Lee (00:17:54):


Tatiana Ford (00:17:56):

So it's, and it's, it saves you as well, you know, in terms of going through all the anxiety being tested every time you get hired.

Dr. Lee (00:18:03):

Exactly, exactly. To get tested one time and you're done, you know? Yeah. That's wonderful. Okay. And Dr. Pay?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:18:12):

Um, yes. So if you are certified, first of all, you will be in the CMI National Certificate Registry. Then, uh, your name and email contact information will be there. So some employers, like Titan said, would reach out to you automatically. Um, although there are some scams that you have to differentiate, but, uh, you definitely get contacted. And, um, also that I remember after I got my certification, I immediately got my badge as a certified national interpreter. And then if I go to work wearing that badge, the patients and doctors, they, they trust you easily. And there's, the communication are definitely more efficient.

Dr. Lee (00:18:49):

I like that. Wonderful. So that gives you a little bit more sense of, uh, it gives you credential that you can then share with, with your colleagues in, especially in the medical field that everyone has a credential. Right. So, um, so definitely professionalizes you, I love that

Tatiana Ford (00:19:06):

The badge that, uh, they just mentioned, it actually makes you feel like you are almost wearing a uniform, Right? Like our,

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:19:14):

You're Yes.

Tatiana Ford (00:19:15):

A patient or they can't tell what you are, you're very in a certain professional capacity. Yeah. So it really, yeah, it, it, it's nice. <laugh>.

Dr. Lee (00:19:25):

Wonderful. Well, that's good to know. Uh, see, that's a little tidbit that we would not have known unless we spoke to professional interpreters. All right. Moving on. Uh, how do you distinguish yourself as the best interpreter when entering the field? So do you have letters of recommendation? How do you basically stand out from the, Let's start with,

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:19:51):

Um, first of all, definitely the education from Metl helped read a lot, is I think is the best, one of the best online interpreter program that you can find. And, um, so, uh, educated by MetTel is one of the most important thing. And then when I was looking for jobs, also, I ask for recommendation letters from Dr. Lee, or like, now current student, you can ask from the facilitators that you worked with as well. So the recommendation letters also matters. Um, yes. And the national, finally the national certificate, that definitely helps.

Dr. Lee (00:20:26):

Wonderful. Now, do you find that to, I'll go to you in the second, but do you, did you also find that, um, they ask for experience and, and did that make a difference as well?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:20:39):

Mm. I personally think sometimes they don't ask for experiences. They just look at your credentials. And also, you don't need to have work experience to enter the field, I think, because otherwise a lot of people will be excluded just by this. Um, also that some jobs, if you don't have the certificate, they will give you a onsite test, maybe over the phone test that you have to record it, your answers, and they will grade you. And if you're qualified, you're qualified. You don't have to have that much of experience.

Dr. Lee (00:21:11):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Ok. All right, Tatiana.

Tatiana Ford (00:21:13):

So just to add to what pay mentioned regarding experience, this is why I think, uh, certification is great because, uh, even if you don't have experience in the field, even if you would never interpreted before, but the fact that you passed, especially if you're not, don't just go hub cmi if you go, and unfortunately not all languages have, uh, oral exam, but if you pass oral exam, and believe me, you have to have certain level of, um, uh, language skills, those languages to pass that exam. So when you do, your employers know you are there. So truly it doesn't really matter, uh, whether or not you have experience, though, of course, experience is great. Yeah. So you can add experience to that list for sure. You know, to answer or the original question, uh, and educational background, I'm sure you know, of course, for example, our Dr. Lee's, uh, Dr. Lee's degree and, uh, pay degree, you know, in, uh, uh, is it in, in, in medical field course, it would, you know, makes, you know, stand out.

Dr. Lee (00:22:28):

So let's, let's talk a little bit, let's, let's dig a little bit into what it takes to pass the certification exam. So we, we just kinda glossed over it, but what does it take, I mean, obviously they have to apply first that it requires education. So we tell everyone, you can't even apply if we, if you haven't trained as a medical interpreter. But what else does it take to, um, to get certified? Uh, Tatiana could go first.

Tatiana Ford (00:22:54):

Um, practice, practice, practice, when it comes to that exam. Uh, first of all, I have to say, um, I think it's very well, uh, organized in terms of what they, they do check what they need to check. And it shows if you pass it seriously, the skill is there. Um, but because it's computerized, uh, there is no human factor involved. You know, you can't really ask the machine to like, hold on a second, and stuff like that. So a lot of, uh, about passing the exam comes down to, first of all, how you control your stress level, because we all get anxious during exams. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, that, um, note taking without it, forget it. Um, and the thing is, I was really hoping, cuz I absolutely love my whiteboard so good. They don't allow whiteboard, but so you have to, before you can switch to whiteboard after your certification because it, it's, it's perfect. I mean, to me, but you need to master your note taking skills. Uh, I think I would probably put that on on top.

Dr. Lee (00:24:15):

Um, so what you guys teach during the life sessions? Actually,

Tatiana Ford (00:24:20):

We, we do, yes. And now we started also, uh, in, during individual sessions, uh, um, and I think, uh, it was actually originated, uh, paper said, Why don't we do like a mock exam? Of course. Uh, we must tell our viewers that nothing that we use for our mock exam repeats any information that is in the actual exam. But at least what we do, and I even try to implement it during my sessions, we give longer segments. The speed has to be there, the eight second thinking time is there. So just to give our students, um, a try because it's important to know what to expect, how it goes and stuff like that.

Dr. Lee (00:25:03):

So what, so what TAs referring to is the coaching sessions that we offer in addition to the, to the facilitator, life facilitator sessions pay. Uh, if you could expound on that, Dr. Pay, if you could expound on what,

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:25:16):

First of all, I totally agree with Tatiana Ford about practice, practice, practice. So if you could attend, uh, as if possible, attend every, uh, life sessions that you can, and then try to get private coaching from ETO as well. Uh, those are the great opportunities you can practice. And, um, note taking yes, as TA said, is very important in passing the exam. So personally, I'm pretty old school, so I still use paper and pen. Uh, but parties is also a great choice. But remember that, uh, during the exam, you only allowed paper and pen and also a paper dictionary. I know that's pretty outdated. Be because when you're out in the field, you would need like phone or electronic dictionary to check words, not a paper one. This takes forever to flip through. Um, also Tanya has said, um, the stress level or how you present yourself, be confident, try to use a normal tone so that you can get higher grades. I know some, some students even freak out during the live sessions that when they are suddenly on the, on the stage and every, um, everyone's giving them attention, they freak out and they can, they perform so much worse than they normally does. Um, so manage your stress level, try to relax. I would say practice with, um, the life sessions is one of the best. Even if you don't have that many, uh, credits to go there, just try to be an observer also helps that you can do.

Tatiana Ford (00:26:44):


Dr. Lee (00:26:44):

Well, so just kinda digging deep into that, so the live sessions kind of mimic what they would experience is in the, in the certification exam as well as in real life, right? That that was the purpose of doing them. Uh, had you noticed students improving from the beginning of their life sessions and towards the end when they're getting ready to graduate?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:27:08):

Uh, definitely. But some students at the beginning, they cannot even finish their sentence. They stuck at every word and after a few months or one or two months, and they, they become much more fluent. That's, you can definitely notice the exp um, the difference. And they also would say they're express their gratitude to you. They say, thanks to these live sessions, I got much better. Now I'm confident to pass the exam and things like that.

Dr. Lee (00:27:32):

Awesome. Do you have something?

Tatiana Ford (00:27:34):

See the confidence level changing for sure. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, everyone I know I was, we are all timid because yes. All of a sudden, you know, all ears are no eyes. Would we only have audio session? Right. You know, everybody's listening. You're the only one speaking to the universe, especially if you have another or more than one, uh, student who speaks your target language, which then you really are on the spot there. Yeah. But then, um, yeah, like, couple, couple sessions and you're good. And, and it's a great atmosphere, uh, in the chat box where, you know, people who speak, students who speak same target language can kind of shoot, you know, helping you with terminology and stuff like that. So, but definitely the improvement you can see. Yeah.

Dr. Lee (00:28:21):

So practice is the key and, and having professional certified experience, um, interpreters, uh, to help with, with that is definitely, um, a plus. Uh, so. Awesome. All right, so let's move on. Um, so I think you guys shared a little bit about this, uh, when you were doing your bios, but if you can go into, in, in, in, you know, if you miss any, um, what fields have you worked in other than, um, hospitals? You know, have you worked in the court system? Have you worked in schools? Um, have you worked, uh, in front of large audiences, say, you know, as a stage or maybe even like a un interpreter, you know, that type of thing. What other, what other settings have you worked as an interpreter? Um, um, Dr. Pe, you can go first.

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:29:14):

Uh, so apart from hospitals, I also worked, uh, remotely for general purpose interpretation. Uh, so for example, some elderly people have, uh, issues whether credit card and they have called a credit card company or something. I also interpreted random topics like this, um, for conferences, Uh, for sure I did some, uh, medical research conference interpretation as well. Um, it's about not that much, I would say, uh, working remotely and hospitals are the two most common things, uh, most common job opportunities for medical interpreters.

Dr. Lee (00:29:51):

How, how did it, how was the, between working remotely, working in a hospital, working in a conference, What are the different skill that you have to have for each of those?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:30:03):

Uh, actually working for conferences you can prepare. That's one of the difference that they give you the slides or topics that, you know, other terminologies you can check beforehand. So you are actually, um, not that stressed, but okay. If you are over the phone, you don't know what's happening there. And some, they sound pretty anxious about their issue. And then I, I get anxious with them, I guess all sweaty and everything. Yeah, it's, it's quite stressful to do over the phone interpretation because you don't see their faces, you don't know what's happening there. And sometimes it can be urgent.

Dr. Lee (00:30:37):

Got it. Got it. Let, let me go back to the conference real quick. When you do a conference, are you there with a patient or are you in a booth oftentimes?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:30:46):

Uh, no, not, not with patient, just, um, as maybe as side by side with a speaker that they speak and I speak something like that.

Dr. Lee (00:30:54):

Awesome. How about you, Tatiana? Do you have experience in different fields other than medical interpreting?

Tatiana Ford (00:31:02):

As a student? Our, uh, we, we started interpreting, you know, pretty early here and there. Um, I once traveled to Japan with, uh, uh, Russian Teachers Union. They were meeting there in haka and sro, uh, with, uh, Japanese, um, teachers union. That was pretty distressful because they were being taken to, you know, very high level, you know, govern this and mayor and all that. Luckily there was a Japanese, uh, lady in interpreter. I guess they even prefer, honestly, I was very happy to read her. But, you know, uh, the rest, like, you know, or during meetings and, you know, are conversations just between colleagues. Uh, I was interpreting back then. Um, then, uh, after I graduated, um, I worked for Japanese company first, and as I mentioned, it was retail, basically. Uh, Japanese supermarket, they tried to open their business, uh, in Russia. Um, so that was something different and interesting. So I was HR and kind of, and interpreting between our Japanese bosses and our Russian employees. Wow. Um, and then I switched to oil and gas. And basically after that, most my interpreting was in business settings, business meetings, also translation because you'd have contracts, you know, quotations or this and that. Um, never conferences. Um, there was just, you know, I was not in, in any field to, you know, to do that. But yeah, mostly business.

Dr. Lee (00:32:39):

I'm sorry.

Tatiana Ford (00:32:40):

And medical then kind of came after

Dr. Lee (00:32:42):

That. Yeah. Let's dig a little bit into what you mentioned as far as contracts. So oftentimes interpreters are called upon to either do site translations or to do an actual translation of a document. What skillset are, you know, what's the difference in the skill sets between a translator and an interpreter? Tati?

Tatiana Ford (00:33:04):

Um, if we're talking about site, uh, interpreting, to tell you the truth, if you are in the topic, I actually like it because you have it right there in front of you. It depending, I guess, on your perception. Um, I, I see it, it's there. All the words are there, you know, you don't need to take notes, you just need to have a look. Okay. You need to think about the how to structure sentence properly. Um, but other than that, if you are in the topic, I, I like site interpreting. However, um, I know that you many companies, and I would, maybe it's even across the, uh, industry. Um, if you work as a video interpreter, you cannot, uh, do site translation. Say for example, here, can you read this? Uh, you what you can do. The best you can do is when the provider reads you sentence by sentence and you can interpret. But even that is a little bit, um, it's just if there is a document there that needs proper translation that providers need to find, you know, maybe, you know, uh, print out and the target language and stuff like that. Um,

Dr. Lee (00:34:19):

How about translated documents? What, what type of skillset did you need for that? Um, I think you did those for the, your business.

Tatiana Ford (00:34:26):

No, uh, obviously your grammar has to be there because, which, what can kind of be overlooked in oral speech stays on paper. <laugh>. Yeah. So in both languages, your grammar has to be there. Yeah. Obviously with uh, translating you have more time to think about it, how to structure even sometimes you put it, nah, no, you can redo with, uh, oral interpretation. You don't have a second chance. Yeah,

Dr. Lee (00:34:59):

That's true. How about you, Dr. Pay? Have you done any translating, and if so, uh, what feels,

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:35:05):

Yes, actually, um, I was, I was doing some translation for technical papers, uh, medical research papers or patents, those kind of thing. Uh, also that when I was working as a medical interpreter in hospitals, I sometimes need to translate the question for questionnaire forms for patients. Like, have you had this, then this disease, those kind of things. Um, I would say side translation and, um, written translation, um, are much relaxed as, um, as Taina has said also that, um, for this kind of translation, your working time is even more flexible. We mentioned that if you work remotely as an ier, your work time is flexible. But, uh, for translating, you can take your time and do a job whenever you want. Um, also in live sessions, we already,

Dr. Lee (00:35:52):

I'm sorry. I was going to say, what's the turnaround time usually for those?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:35:57):

Uh, for translations, normally they give you several days, three, five days, depending on the amount. Rarely they ask it within a few hours, so you can take your time and do it whenever you want. Um, also, uh, we, in the live sessions, me and Tyna, we offer the psych interpretation, uh, practice often that we give you some medical relevant materials to read with, with shared screen, and then you can take your time and, um, translate for us. Um, I would say what difference between interpretation and, uh, site interpretation is that, uh, with oral interpretation, you come up with really short sentences with all the key words, and you don't mind your grammar so much. There can be errors, but as long as you get the keywords right, you get the credit, or in as an exam, you get the points. But in written translation, you have to be accurate and structure sentence, beautiful, considered context and everything. So you need to put more effort into, into it.

Dr. Lee (00:36:58):

Okay. And the site translation is a part of the certification exam, correct?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:37:02):


Dr. Lee (00:37:03):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative> awesome. And so we are training our, our interpreters already for that, as you mentioned in the life sessions. And, and then Met also has a translation department as well. So we have a translation diploma that we also provide, um, as you mentioned, because it does require different skill sets. Awesome. You guys are doing excellent. Um, I'm learning a lot myself, <laugh>, there's a little, little tibit here and there. Um, next question. Um, what do you do to best prepare for your day? Uh, what strategies mindset do you use to best prepares? Um, you know, you both work remotely, you know, what do you do to kind of psych yourself out before this day starts? <laugh>, I'm not sure who, who, who was the first one last time? So just whoever wants to start.

Tatiana Ford (00:37:53):

Well, uh, I tried to start early, uh, not, uh, start early, uh, job wise. Like my, uh, shift starts at 9:00 AM so I try to get up like six 30. I just like my morning to be as slow and uninterrupted as possible. I, I don't like running around and being in

Dr. Lee (00:38:10):


Tatiana Ford (00:38:11):

And that way I have time for my breakfast. I have time to walk my dog. So by the time I sit down, I'm ready, you know? Yeah. So I've done all my morning chores and now I'm all here. Um, like I said, our, the environment really matters, I'm pretty sure for everyone. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, the question is what you prefer, but do organize your, uh, workstation, Um, just so, so you feel comfortable because you will be spending, you know, several hours, uh, um, as for after, uh, shifts, especially if it's long ones, like, say several hours, right? You're seeking all the time. Um, and I'm sure, uh, Dr. Jan will, uh, confirm as a medical doctor that now we're facing, it's almost like modern time pandemic with very bad posture. Yes. Everyone is looking at their, um, gadgets. Uh, the, the neck problem is, is a big, big issue for your health. So you really have to take care of yourself. If you sit so much, you need to absolutely find some time, even if it's just 15 minutes of some physical activity, whatever it is, it, it really is important. So just to, you know, keep up <laugh>,

Dr. Lee (00:39:33):

You do like stretching exercises or

Tatiana Ford (00:39:36):

Anything, Whatever works for you. But yeah, you absolutely have to do it, otherwise you will, pretty soon it will catch up with you

Dr. Lee (00:39:43):

<laugh>. Exactly. Yeah. And this is, this is across other industries, not just medical interpret.

Tatiana Ford (00:39:49):

Yeah. Nowadays, now that every but so many people work from home and sitting so much, yeah, it does flow across our industries. Um, so that would be my tips,

Dr. Lee (00:40:03):

Yes. Okay. Dr. K, do you have some additional tips for us?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:40:07):

Um, for me, the first key point is to shut the door and have your own space. So otherwise, the, the children will storm in or the dog barking in everything. So you need to have a quiet space for that. And second, um, I personally, if I, if you do video interpreting, you should maybe make yourself presentable to your hair or makeup if you want, and dress properly. That's also important. Uh, but just for any type of interpretation, you need to have a clean table that you should be organized. Otherwise, things are falling apart everywhere. So be organized and try to keep a clean table. That's also important, I would say

Dr. Lee (00:40:44):

In. And what time do you normally start your day?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:40:48):

Uh, well that all, that really depends when the baby sleeps. So the snow fixed schedule. So, so yours I tried for, Yes. So I tried in, um, job online jobs that you can log in whenever you're free, even for seven minutes. 10 minutes that you can log in and get a phone call and then hang up and go back to your baby. So I, I prefer that types of jobs.

Dr. Lee (00:41:12):

I love it. This is good info, I think for a lot of people to, to really see what, what the profession is like. So you either have schedule times or you can have super flexible times. That's awesome. Okay. Well, I'm going to give my little, how do I get my day started? I, I'm also remote. I, you know, I do, um, I do my, my job from home. Um, but I have a, a longer morning, uh, kind of similar to Tatiana in that I start off with, um, meditation and then I go to my workout and then my breakfast <laugh> and, and then I get my day started. I usually work very late at night. Um, but my mornings are all about self care and just getting, getting myself ready for the day. And, um, and what I do for not having to sit down all the time, uh, is that I have my workstation at my, um, my breakfast bar.

Dr. Lee (00:42:03):

So I stand up most of the time. I try to stand as long as possible, then I'll sit down for a little bit in a very uncomfortable chair. Cause I find if I have a super comfortable chair, I'll sit there all day long, <laugh>. So I try to sit in a, in a wooden chair if I have to sit. But I try to stand up as long as possible. Cause as you mentioned, you know, sitting is very bad for your posture and it's, it's just bad overall for your circulation. So try to stand up as much as possible just to get the body flowing whenever you can. Those are just my little health tidbit since we were talking about that. All right. Let's see, what, uh, next question. Um, what does a day in the life interpreter look like? We've kinda covered this a little bit, um, uh, but if you guys have anything else to add, Um, a day in the life of an interpreter, Dr. Sango.

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:42:58):

Um, I remember, uh, when I was working at mgh, the hospital, um, first you start with commute and then you travels to the place and if, uh, no patient's appointment yet, you sit in the office and maybe do some paperwork and talk to your manager, start the day. And then when there are, uh, patients in need, you go to the site, to different departments into the, within the hospital and travels between departments and help them. And then you come back, have lunch. Uh, that's usually how the day looks like. Sometimes you don't have a full day appointments. They will tell you beforehand how many appointments, uh, how many appointments you have that day. Um, so you are kind of prepared and relaxed in working, working a hospital like that.

Dr. Lee (00:43:47):

So, um, by the appointments you're talking about, like, you would go sometimes to the ob gyn, sometimes to the er, Is that what you're talking about?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:43:54):

To the radiology, to the pediatrics, yes. You go to different part apartments, departments, Sorry.

Dr. Lee (00:44:00):

And you knew and you knew ahead of time. It wasn't like on demand type of thing. What, what types of, what type of codings you would have that day?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:44:08):

Yeah, they will, they will tell you beforehand. Sometimes there are emergency calls, but those are rare. They try to be organized.

Dr. Lee (00:44:15):

Okay. Awesome. How about you? Fat?

Tatiana Ford (00:44:18):

Well, like I said, I kind of, uh, tried to have a long morning and then you get camera ready, uh, and you see that your workstation, by the way, Dr. Lee, my desk has an, you know, have an option to write. I've never done it, but I like to know it's there if I, I want to do it. Absolutely. Very, you know, nowadays they make great, uh, ergonomic office, uh, equipment. I, I would want to call it that, you know, and when I was talking about comfortable chair, I didn't mean comfortable to fall asleep and comfortable to sit and work. I want to know if that

Dr. Lee (00:44:53):

<laugh> ergonomically coming. Yes, yes. Doesn't like really hurt your spine and things like that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

Tatiana Ford (00:44:59):

So, um, nowadays, uh, my shifts, I have five hour shifts from nine to two are in my time zone, um, Monday through Friday. So, uh, and like I said, we get pretty busy, uh, theoretically, depending on the lengths of the call, on average, you would get in five hours, at least 10 calls, if they're more or less like say 20 minute each average. But sometimes there will be longer calls. For example, the long ones would always be, uh, physiotherapy, because normally it's either 30 minutes or sometimes an hour. Depends, um, some sort of our psych evaluations, stuff like that, Um, there is sometimes a bit legal involved or then that could take, you know, longer time. Um, and then our, the, the shorter ones would be like just checking process. Yeah, no registration desk for pharmacy calls and stuff like that. So depending how long the calls you will.

Tatiana Ford (00:45:56):

But on average, like I said, at least 10 calls. So we we're pretty easy. Um, and then after my shift, uh, like I said, I try to, to do something, you know, some sort of physical activity when the weather permits. I go hiking, uh, now, uh, one 10 degrees, no hiking for me, so I'm trying to do some yoga just on the math and stuff like that. Yeah. And, uh, in the second part of the day, uh, again, theoretically if you have, uh, a booked, uh, onsite appointment, you can go, uh, in my case, uh, all material sessions run in the evening. So I have, uh, three times a week or, or life training sessions. And if, uh, any students book one on one sessions, all that falls into my, you know, second part day. Yeah.

Dr. Lee (00:46:46):

Wow. Um, I like to kind of dig deep a little bit into your remote. Um, so are you getting calls from all over the nation or just certain regions? All over. All over. Okay.

Tatiana Ford (00:46:59):

Geography is pretty amazing. In the beginning, I started kind of just okay, like, uh, North Carolina just for me to see. And then I realized, oh, they're everywhere. Everywhere.

Dr. Lee (00:47:08):


Tatiana Ford (00:47:09):

Coast to coast. Mm-hmm.

Dr. Lee (00:47:10):

<affirmative>. And then you mentioned a different types of appointments. So have you had any appointments that are like over an hour? And then how do you handle the fatigue? Cause cause that could get pretty daunting for your head, right?

Tatiana Ford (00:47:22):

Yes. Uh, those can be, uh, pretty daunting. E and it, it's actually weird that sometimes, not necessarily or, uh, you get tired, uh, when you interpret a lot. Uh, the ones that run long, say dentist appointments, you say couple of words every now and then when the crown is being right. But you are on camera, you can't, this is more difficult than having to interpret a long session, honestly. Then you start feeling like you, you can't, you know? Right. But yes, there are sometimes bridge along sessions or the loaded sessions. Uh, fortunately, uh, if you really have to, if you feel like, you know, the quality of your interpretation suffers, goes down in our, our company, the company that I work for, the reason option to transfer the call. Okay. Your colleague.

Dr. Lee (00:48:22):

I love that. Yeah. That's good to know. Yeah. All right. That, that does, that does happen, especially for asl. That's a, that's a requirement. If something's going to be a long, long session, they require you to have more than one interpreters present. So that's good to know. Mm-hmm.

Tatiana Ford (00:48:38):

<affirmative>. Yeah. So there is an option.

Dr. Lee (00:48:41):

So, very good. Um, so, um, we've kind of covered this question already. What other types of interpretation are out there? We've talked about conference and business and, um, obviously medical. Do you guys want to kind touch on court interpreting? Cause we haven't really talked about that. I mean, that's a major source of interpretation here in our country. Um, who would like to start us on that one?

Tatiana Ford (00:49:10):

Well, I would think our, you really have to be trained in it in terms of terminology.

Dr. Lee (00:49:15):

Okay. Jargon,

Tatiana Ford (00:49:16):

Also, even our, when they speak, you know, when it's oral, you know, presentation lawyers speak as if they read off the book. So sometimes are in, even in medical sessions, there could be segments of, um, I would say like semi-legal, well even, let's say for example, advanced directives

Dr. Lee (00:49:40):


Tatiana Ford (00:49:41):

<affirmative>, stuff like that. Or, um, uh, during, say, psych evaluation when it's about, uh, you know, appointing someone when they need to determine if the patient, you know, is coherent enough to make decisions and stuff like that. So, um, also what we are trained in, even if you are not trained as court interpreter, you can, uh, first of all, you have to be transparent and say that you are not legal interpreter. However, uh, if, uh, they can kind of, um, uh, minimize the terminology and if everything that they want to or the patient to know can be delivered in more or less, you know, let's say layman language, fine. Um, again, like I said, um, some of our interpreters are also trained in court, and if you feel are, and there's nothing embarrassing about it, if you feel that this is not something you can handle, it's okay to transfer to your colleague who, you know, can mm-hmm.

Tatiana Ford (00:50:44):

<affirmative>. Um, uh, but, uh, say even though I love watching legal <laugh>, everything legal, I personally, I think it's important to know what you can and cannot do. Um, the legal, or why I'm in medical is because, uh, it's an non adversary environment. Everyone is looking the same direction. Everybody's interested in the same thing. Legal is much more entangled. No, <laugh> not for me. Yeah. So you, you have to like it, you have to want it. Uh, it's super interesting to watch, but, um, yeah, you have to, you know, and definitely you need training in it.

Dr. Lee (00:51:31):

Got it. Got it. How about you, Dr. Uh, Dr. Pain? What are your thoughts on court interpreting?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:51:37):

Um, personally, I didn't do any court interpretation because it requires extra, um, uh, education and certification. I think there's no national certificate for court interpretation yet, I guess, but is statewise you have something that you need to be, um, proved for your state court. And then, um, but I worked in a lawyer's office for a while for patent work that I did some, uh, uh, translation for legal terms. And that's pretty different. I would say. You have to really study the terms like tar said. And for, luckily, in media, we also have this core interpretation course that you can check out. Um, so for court interpretation, um, students, we also provide in our life sessions, the court interpreter core interpretation materials that you can practice. So we do provide two types of materials, either medical or court, depending on which course you're coming from.

Dr. Lee (00:52:32):

Thank you. Thank you for, for doing that. Plug <laugh>. Um, but I did want to, want to stress that although there's no national certification, um, as you mentioned, each state has it, and they, a lot of the training honestly, that you guys go through, even from medical, can be used towards your, you know, court interpreting. And, um, and as Satana mentioned, the, um, oftentimes when you, even in medical, you can always say, Hey, you know, please lower the register. Right? Change, change it as more simplified language. Um, and that way you can translate. So just, just for anyone that's out there that's interested in court interpreting, um, it doesn't have to be as daunting because you can always request that, not that they're going to honor the lawyers and the judges, but, uh, that is something that you can definitely request. Um, and then your training, even if you just have medical interpreter training can be used towards your, your court certification.

Dr. Lee (00:53:34):

Um, that's, that was interesting to, to discuss. Um, there's lots of core interpreting, uh, needs out there for med, for interpreters. Uh, obviously the, the immigration system, right needs, needs interpreters, Um, uh, any child that presents themselves there, that, that does not speak a language needs an interpreter cetera. So, um, lots of opportunities for COI interpreting. All right. Let's, uh, switch gears a little bit. Um, I know you guys mentioned a little bit of your bio, the languages that you speak, but how many languages do you interpret it? So even if you don't, if you speak several languages, do you interpret in all of those languages? Uh, Tatiana,

Tatiana Ford (00:54:17):

No. Uh, I only interpret between English and Russian. Uh, language is something that has to be, you know, spoken all the time. Otherwise, well, we know, we know it. All right. Even probably after vacation, you need to kind of get into gear, right? Uh, yeah. So my Japanese is pretty much dormant, unfortunately. So professionally, I only interpret between English and Russian.

Dr. Lee (00:54:43):

Got it. Got it. And how about you, Tristan?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:54:46):

Yeah, I'm kind of in the same situation that although I get certificates in mid medium advanced level for Japanese, German, French, but I do not interpret into those languages because I don't feel comfortable. It's not my mother tongue. So I only do Mandarin English interpretation between Mandarin English.

Dr. Lee (00:55:05):

Right. And this is a good time to, to talk about proficiency. So, you know, with met, we use the same, uh, proficiency requirements that the national Board uses, which is, you have to be an advanced level, uh, proficient in that language. Um, although we have the coaching sessions that will help with your proficiency, if you're not there, um, you just cannot move forward with the course or complete it unless you have that proficiency level. Um, and, uh, and, and it's good to know, like even people that might have say the coursework to prove their proficiency, it's good for them to e to know that it's important to have that fully, um, proficient level in the language that you want to interpret. Cause you have lives on the line, you know, especially in the healthcare field, right? Lives are on the line, and we don't want, um, accuracy to be an issue, uh, for them getting the best care that they want, uh, that they did deserve to get. So thank you for, um, for bringing that up and for being responsible interpreters, <laugh>. So you both mentioned, I don't feel comfortable enough, and that's really good. That means that you're taking, uh, taking that very seriously. All right. So let's, uh, talk about CEUs. How many have, uh, do you guys continue with your education? And if so, what does that look like? Uh, Dr. In, if you could share that.

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:56:28):

Um, yes. After the, uh, uh, certification, I think you need to get CS for every four or five years, depending on if it's CMI or C hhi. Uh, I plan, I'm planning on taking more courses for EO to, uh, qualify for the CEUs. Um, they have, for example, I have in mind the, um, uh, mental health interpretation or court interpretation, but I'm not sure that's relevant for the medical certification. But definitely I'm going to take the mental health interpretation CEU in the next year.

Dr. Lee (00:57:01):

Wonderful. All right. How about you <inaudible>?

Tatiana Ford (00:57:04):

Uh, well definitely cus are, uh, compulsory because you will not get cert or re-certified if you don't, are, you know, go through certain amount of, uh, additional training. Um, however I think you would want to do them anyway because, uh, it kind of keeps you from stagnation. Uh, you do learn something, you always need to kind of expand both your vocabulary and knowledge in medical field, which is like absolutely limitless. Um, I'm pretty sure even for DR Pay, right? Because there's always, and nowadays always something new <laugh>

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:57:40):

Comes up,

Dr. Lee (00:57:41):


Tatiana Ford (00:57:42):

Um, also our, no, not just, uh, OC are there. Um, what I'm doing right now is also I'm, I went for iias, um, what they call, um, Lifetime, what do they call, um, lifetime learning webinars. Uh, so, uh, every month they run, uh, one, uh, webinar webinars, always different speaker. Some of them are from abroad. Uh, the other day we had someone, uh, from Spain, uh, then there was another speaker from France. So it's fun as well, not just, you know, additional education. Definitely. Um, so I think it's important, um, and I actually enjoy it.

Dr. Lee (00:58:32):

That's, that's really good. Um, yes, anyone in the healthcare field knows that continuing education just comes with the territory. Uh, cause you want to just keep your skills up and keep them current right. And up to date. And, um, I love that the plug that you did, uh, about I M I A is really good to be plugged in into associations. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, go to conferences whenever you can. Uh, of course me has our CEOs and our, our CEO subscription program as well. Uh, but it's really important to, to get that breadth of information from all the different, um, angles, you know, all the different, uh, uh, places, you know, definitely that can enhance your, your professionalism. You know, it makes it, it means that you take your profession seriously. That's really what it comes down to. Uh, next question. Why do you feel that MET is the best training for certification and what makes met different?

Dr. Pei Zhang (00:59:35):

Oh, okay. I'll start. Um, so the best thing of MET is, is completely online that you can do it anywhere in the world anytime you want. As I mentioned, uh, when I did the course, I was still in Germany somewhere. I took the, um, took the course maybe after midnight in the US time. So you can do it whenever you want. That's one of the best things. And also I think it's very affordable among other programs. And now nowadays with all the scholarships, the financial aid opportunities, and even learn, first pay after you get a job, things like that. So it's also very affordable. Even if you don't have any money in your pocket, you can try this out and see if this is what you want for your life. Um, also that's what inspires me is, um, Dr. Lee personally, you are like a role model of mine. This, uh, you are like women, a female from minority, and you started all this and become an entrepreneur, that, that's really inspiring. So it's also very inspiring to learn from you and work with you. So I think that's, that's why I love material and I decided to work with me for this long.

Dr. Lee (01:00:45):

Thank you PE thank you so much for saying that. Awesome. Tatiana.

Tatiana Ford (01:00:50):

And, uh, I mean, uh, <inaudible> is, uh, recognized, uh, in the industry. Uh, uh, it is recognized by cmi. Uh, so when they, they see that the students were trained here, there's no doubt that the training was, you know, adequately provided. Uh, because, uh, again, based on my own experience for sure, everything we needed to know to pass our, our national certification was there. Yeah. So, and, uh, we are credited by I M I A, so I think we just, uh, have all the components necessary.

Dr. Lee (01:01:28):

Yes. Um, I, I want to just do a plug on that. Uh, we are only one of two, um, institutions now that's accredited by the Im I a I was checking on their website the other day. Yes. Um, and, um, and certification is definitely close to my heart. You know, I was one of the, the, the, the first chair of the national Board certification, um, that back before, you know, we had certification, so was a subject matter expert and all of that. I mean, it, it, the whole, I'm passionate about interpreters becoming credentialed and, you know, prepared and credentialed in this, in this field. Most definitely. Okay. We'll have one more question and then we can wrap up. Um, what are the challenges, the difficulties, uh, that you guys might experience, uh, as interpreters? Um, whether you work remotely or, or face to face. What are, what are some of the challenges? Kinda open up the eyes of the, of those out there that are thinking about this profession.

Tatiana Ford (01:02:28):


Dr. Lee (01:02:30):

Okay. Any, anyone can start.

Tatiana Ford (01:02:32):

I would say technical issues sometimes can be very frustrated if they occur. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> are, especially nowadays because everyone wears a mask and on top of a mask, sometimes there's a shield <laugh>. And even when you are just in, you know, real life, sometimes I have to ask k she several times like, cuz you what? You can't treat lips if you would not hear very well. There you go. So that presents a diff challenge, a real challenge. You don't want to be asking question all the time, ask for repetition all the time, but sometimes you have no choice. It completely breaks the flow. Um, you start getting anxious, you know, the provider also, you know, gets a little bit annoyed. Um, it doesn't happen often, but unfortunately sometimes technical issues, you know, may be there. Especially, I think, uh, at least with video, uh, remote interpreting, at least you have, uh, video clue or well, you know, clues, um, with, um, uh, phone only when you have no video feed, you don't have a picture, so you're completely unaware of what's going on.

Tatiana Ford (01:03:45):

So that can be pretty challenging. Uh, sometimes there can be an emotional component dependent on the session if, uh, it's like end of life discussion or when you have to deliver, you know, preem and diagnosis. Right. So, and this is where actually I learned that you want to say, hello, my, you know, I'm such and such ion, I realize that now I have to be more careful about, be a little bit more neutral when you appear on camera because you have no idea the context that you stepping into. Sometimes it may not be very pleasant conversation and you feel very awkward showing up all smiles when all of a sudden there is a sick c you know,

Dr. Lee (01:04:35):

Thank you for sharing that. I want to just little bit into that before we go to Dr. Pay. How do you keep yourself emotionally grounded in those situations?

Tatiana Ford (01:04:48):

I will be completely honest to you. I don't know. <laugh> sometimes, sometimes you really have to take a deep breath and you never, you never really truly prepared if, especially if you have like personal connection with something reminds you of something and it really triggers things in you. Um, I wish I had a good answer. Um, you can do it. Definitely, uh, it's possible. Um, again, luckily depending on the company that you work for, um, in the company in Amm, they are very aware that sometimes there can be cases like this and they can give you those couple minutes, you know, after the session to really, you know, catch your breath and, you know, even maybe meditate, whatever techniques work for you to leave it behind and step into another session. You know, like a completely a new interaction. Yeah.

Dr. Lee (01:05:50):

Very good. Very good. Thank, thank you for sharing that. All right, Dr, how about you? What are some of the challenges that you have seen working insulin interpreter?

Dr. Pei Zhang (01:05:59):

Um, I think, uh, when, when I was working in the hospital, in person interpreting situations, sometimes the patient will go over the line and you really need dilemmas. Sometimes they will ask some, um, ask for your personal information, like for your phone number. They say, My grandma really needs help. Can I contact you later for this? And that, Or sometimes they say, I really have this issue with my insurance card. Can you call my insurance for me? But then in 10 minutes you have your next appointment. You don't know if you can finish this issue within 10 minutes to help them. And these situations that often run into, I know we all, we were all trained and we studied all the ethic protocol, practice standards and everything, but in real life still you meet situations that it's kind of hard for you to say no, but you know, you shouldn't do that for the patients. Sometimes it, it's really difficult for me still. I sometimes there's no good answers for these.

Tatiana Ford (01:06:54):

And this is why remote interpreting is easier because once you click that camera off, you are gone. But if you are on site, you're still standing there, you know, so all those extra questions can well, you know, keep coming.

Dr. Lee (01:07:08):

Got it. So there's, there's challenges to both, There's pros and cons to both and, and you guys have really done a great job of, of, of showcasing that. And, and basically we wanted to, to do this for prospective students and for those that are thinking about the, the industry, you know, entering it, uh, because, you know, they might have been a, a family member that was asked to interpret or, or something like that. A lot of our students come, come to us with that story. Um, but they don't know the full scope. Right. And so you guys have done an amazing job tonight, um, giving us a real good deep dive into the life of an interpreter and, uh, pros and cons and, um, thank you so much. I truly, I I appreciate the time that you guys both took, uh, to, to do that. Uh, so would you guys like anything, how would you to, uh, like to complete the session with any, any last words of advice or wisdom? Dr. Z

Dr. Pei Zhang (01:08:13):

Um, my advice to medical interpreters, um, keep learning, polish your medical terminologies all the time, and, um, have confidence in yourself. And you will, you'll, you will, you will make it

Dr. Lee (01:08:26):

Wonderful. And Tatiana.

Tatiana Ford (01:08:28):

Yeah. And I have to say that so far, um, morally this was the most fulfilling job that I've ever done, honestly. Yeah. You, you, you do feel like you are making a difference. You help

Dr. Lee (01:08:44):

And you are <laugh> you are making a difference. This is a, it is a fulfilling job. That's why medical, uh, medical field period, right. You mm-hmm. <affirmative> is a calling. For sure. Well, thank you guys again for your time and for your expertise.

Tatiana Ford (01:09:01):

Thank you

Dr. Pei Zhang (01:09:03):

Thank you Dr. Lee.

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