An Interpreter's True Worth

In the workforce, there are people who go to work with the sole purpose of receiving a paycheck. On the other hand, there are many who go to work, not for the paycheck, but for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, and interpreters are prime examples of those who value the impact they make more than what they take home in their paycheck.

With every profession, there are standards to uphold and rules to follow. Medical Interpreting is no exception. The Medical Interpreting field has a solid foundation, based on a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. But, apart from the standards and rules, there is the human side to our profession. As Interpreters, we have fought to have steady work with a liveable wage. However, it is not the quantity of work or the hourly wage, but rather, the quality of our work that matters most. We have even come together to fight for additional legislation that promises better language access, for those whose primary language is not English. Yes, we are professionals. But, we are human first.

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My Journey as a Medical Interpreter-Mercedes Delgado Booth

I am a native from Mexico and have been in the US most of my adult life.
When I first came to United States I spoke just a few words of English,
but was determined to learn the language, and after a few years of
hard work I learn enough to help my parents who later
came from Mexico  to live in with me.  As my father got older and
diagnosed with a bad disease, I found that this was what I wanted to do.  I was
his voice through all the testing and medical appointments, and the follow up
appointments, until I saw myself as part of the wonderful work that
Medical Interpreters do.

My dream from that moment on was to became a hospital Interpreter. I
loved the way we could be the voice for those who were frighten and
unsure of their diseases. I wanted to be part of it and make them feel
better in such a vulnerable situation.

Step by step I slowly entered and lived  the difficult task of making
myself worth among the Interpreting community.  At that point my biggest
journey began, I  was very  lucky to obtain a grant to go to school and
learn from the best Instructors in the state of Arizona, and became one
of the pioneer  Spanish Medical Interpreters in 2001 trough Phoenix
Children Hospital. My journey didn't stop there; I knew there was more
for me to do and I continued to grow as a Medical Interpreter,  and
soon after I finished school I went to work for Dignity Health as a
staff Interpreter and Translator. Many doors opened for me at that time.
I got an offer from Honor Health Trauma Center and I continue to enjoy
every single encounter in my daily job until this day. I passed my
Certification with the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters on the
first round, and I wanted to dedicate part of my journey to my father
who since passed away. He gave me the best gift of my life by
encouraging and blessing me to begin a wonderful and sacred
service to the  many patients who need our help,  to pursue my dream of
becoming a Medical Interpreter.

I call my job a service to God when I am serving those in need...

Thank you for letting me share my story.

Mercedes  Delgado Booth, CMI-Spanish

How becoming a CMI changed my life-by Andrea Parsons

How Becoming A Certified Medical Interpreter Changed My Life For The Better

For many people, figuring out what career path to choose in life is very difficult. Fortunately, at a very young age, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. It wasn’t until I began formally studying Spanish at the age of 12, that I decided to  become a Spanish teacher. My initial love  for the Spanish language; however, began when I was a toddler watching Sesame Street; learning numbers, colors, the alphabet, and simple phrases. My pre-school teacher even gifted me my first Spanish dictionary on moving up day to kinder-garden.

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Certification in Utah

I live in Utah, where the state has had it's own certification program for Medical Interpreters since 2009. Unfortunately, since it was created before the National Board was up and running, all it took to become a "certified medical interpreters" in Utah was taking Bridging the Gap, and pay a $50 fee. No language assessment, no test, no continued education--that was it.  

After many years of complaining to the senator that sponsored the original bill, she agreed to hold a meeting of stakeholders and this year the law was revised and changed to require national certification instead, so I am very happy that the state realized the importance of not only testing the language proficiency of the interpreters, but that it has recognized the validity of the National Board and it's standards.  For languages that are not nationally certifiable yet (no oral exam), they created a tier 2 certification that requires interpreters to pass the written exam from the National Board or the certifying commission, so that they can at least demonstrate adequate knowledge of the field, and meet the pre-requisites in education.

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