What prompted me to attend the International Medical Interpreter Association (IMIA) conference this year? The opportunity to attend a BTG Trainers meeting at a national gathering of IMIA conference attendees and meet with other trainers from other states. We reviewed a few CCHCP short-term plans and learned about a new 64-hour BTG Training pilot program. All licensed agencies have the choice of continuing with the 40-hour BTG Training or participating in the 64-hour pilot training. This new version will include an 8-hour Code of Ethics course. Hopefully, the COE booklet will be ready by April 2014.
Last year, I was selected as IMIA State Chapter Chair of for Michigan for a 4-year term. I took this annual conference opportunity to meet with other state chapter chairs in person and learn what other states have been doing to promote medical interpreting professions and encouraging interpreters to take National Certification exams and become certified healthcare interpreters. If you have not taken the national exam yet, here are the websites for The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters and The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters.
One of the Sunday workshops that interested me was “Is Your Training Program IMIA Accredited?” I now have a better understanding of the IMIA Accreditation components, including Admission, Administration, Notices, Instructors, Curriculum, Methodology, and Evaluation. Our department is considering combining a few of our training programs and apply for IMIA Accredited Program.
UMHS Interpreter Services Director Michelle Harris encouraged me to present at the national level. So I decided to give a presentation on “Tips and Techniques for Public Speaking in Your Non-Native Language” at the IMIA Conference this year. I noticed at earlier interpreter conferences, we often had the same speakers year after year and non-native-English speakers were seldom willing to get up and share their knowledge and experience with their colleagues from different states and countries. I wanted to start by setting an example and let people who came to my presentation know that I immigrated to the U.S. at age 30, and that I’m aware that I have some degree of foreign accent when I speak English. However, I also let the audience know that I thoroughly enjoy giving presentations and teaching Bridging the Gap Medical Interpreter Training. At this presentation, I shared my 20 tips for Public Speaking in Your Non-Native Language and Things to Avoid for Public Speaking. At the end of session, one of the participants came up to me and said it was the best workshop the whole weekend. I was flattered by her compliment and was glad that I picked an interesting and practical topic to share with colleagues. One of the Spanish interpreters from Ecuador said she would consider giving a presentation at the next conference following my suggestions. Receiving positive feedback and kind words from participants was inspiring to me.
The IMIA Conference brought hundreds of medical interpreters together from all over the world. We shared experiences and increased our interpreting knowledge. We have a common goal – to provide excellence in healthcare interpreting.