On a subsequent date, Mrs. Jeannette Houchens, HIT Services president, and Ms. Lyndsay Collins, Interpreter Coordinator, both Certified Medical Interpreters, presented on the topic of interpretation. Although, only one student in the class was interested in becoming a healthcare interpreter, Houchens was able to relay how in their various occupations they might interact with interpreters. There was an amazing response from the students, who were very engaged during the presentation, as Houchens covered the skills that are required for interpreting, the laws that establish the need for interpreters, as well as the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the Interpreting Profession.
Houchens and Collins also provided a short demonstration of how interpreters work, making sure to include some of the students during these demonstrations. Some students shared their personal experiences as many of them had been used as the de facto interpreters of their family members for as long as they could remember. They were surprised to learn that all those times when they were asked to interpret, the provider should have called a professional interpreter to communicate with their family members instead of asking them to do it. This led to a great discussion about the importance of an interpreter knowing their role and being impartial as well as the difference between someone who is bilingual and a professional interpreter.
We are extremely thankful to Carolina High School and Ms. Driggers, for their support in raising awareness about the Deaf Community and about interpretation as an essential component of providing healthcare.