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Unread 11-18-2009, 04:32 PM   #1
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Hey! This is my first post on this forum. I have been learning asl for about a year and a half i am honestly not all that great at it; however, i think if i really devote myself to it i will be. I am a licensed emt (emergency medical technician). I have been thinking about trying to become an interpreter as well. My asl teacher tells me deaf communities are always in need of emergency medical people who can sign so i figure if i could get licensed as an interpreter i could move near a deaf community. I really really want to do this i think it would be really cool plus i really like asl. I am really willing to get into it and be devoted but I can't seem to find all that much information on emergency medicine interpreting. I called rid but they say they don't have any medical interpreting licensures. I don't have very much time to decide whether im going to do this or not but before i start i need more information. if anyone can give me information, websites, etc. on how to become an interpreter (specifically in the medical field) thatd be awesome.
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Unread 11-19-2009, 08:40 AM   #2
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The first thing to realize is that you can't do both at the same time. If you're trying to interpret, your patient will miss your EMT skills, and vice versa.

I've never heard of an interpreter as a ride-along, terms of going to the location and interpreting there. Having an EMT who can sign is invaluable in cases like that, but you wouldn't be interpreting, you'd just be an EMT who can sign.

The most likely place for a terp familiar with emergency medicine is the ER. You could do them on different days, different shifts, etc. Most hospitals don't have an interpreter on call, but you might be able to convince them to give it a try!
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Unread 11-19-2009, 04:07 PM   #3
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good point. thanks. that could work. would you happen to know anyway for me to get more information on emergency medicine interpreting?
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Unread 11-19-2009, 05:54 PM   #4
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The best thing to do (in my opinion) would be get general interpreting training and experience. Then you can specialize. There's more to interpreting than learning a specialized vocabulary for a particular setting. For example, interpreters who specialize in legal settings had to first become trained and certified in general interpreting. Then, they acquired additional training in legal interpreting. You can get the specialized training thru interpreting workshops and mentor programs (depending on where you live).

You will find that in the medical field, not every medical term has a specific sign, and fingerspelling by itself is not satisfactory interpreting. Medical interpreting incorporates the use of classifiers and lots of description.

Like Etoile posted, you need to choose either EMT or interpreter when you are working.
A signing EMT or an interpreter with a medical background is beneficial but they are still two separate professions. It would be wonderful if every deaf person who needed an EMT could get you, the signing EMT, but as you know, people don't get sick or injured on schedules that match your shift.

You can make use of combined skills in other ways, after you've gained enough proficiency in signing. You could offer first aid courses in sign language to the deaf community (reciprocity).

I personally know another hearing EMT who is going thru interpreter training now.

I don't know where you live, or whether you are willing to relocate for a school, so I can't give you ITP school recommendations. I think there is a link at RID for schools.
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Unread 11-20-2009, 12:03 AM   #5
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my college (just a community college but pretty nice) actually has an interpreter program so that is where i will be taking classes. That does sound like a good idea so far as specializing later on. Also the cpr idea is awesome i didnt even think of that!

I realize i cant do both interpreting and emt at the same time however the reason i want this so bad is just for the reason you said. what does a deaf person do when they are injured and need to explain to the emt but the emt does not sign? i think itd be really cool if i could live near a somewhat large deaf community so the probability of my patient being deaf is much higher.

Really? For the same reasons as me or..?

Thanks for the advice!! and i hope your emt friend does well!
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