You Learn Lessons in Some Strange Places

I was at my endocrinologist‘s clinic this morning – wowing him with my stellar

Speak Out: Sign language interpretation
Speak Out: Sign language interpretation (Photo credit: Grant Neufeld)

physicality – when an interesting exchange took place. It appears, that his patient immediately after me, required an interpreter. “Sign language?” I asked, obsessive individual that I’m known to be. “Nope, Spanish,” he said. “Problem is, they won’t wait – they’re such prima donnas,” he lamented.

He went on to tell me that that the interpreters and translators, employed by the hospital will stay as long as necessary when they’re actually doing their job, but they will only spend 15 minutes in the waiting room. “Then, they just up and split. They don’t care that we may have a problem case that’s holding up everybody else. They don’t get how hard it is, being a doctor, I guess.”

“No,” says I. “That’s not it at all. It’s the hospital itself. The bean counters upstairs feel that if an interpreter is sitting on her fundament in the waiting room, she’s not earning her pay. I’ll bet you anything they’re told they won’t be paid for time not actually interpreting.”

I went to the U.S. Department of Labor site, and found this link:

English: pictures of 2 sign language interpret...
Two sign language interpreters working together as a team for a student association meeting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




3 thoughts on “You Learn Lessons in Some Strange Places

  1. If I don’t show up and don’t cancel I have to pay for my terps – which would be a huge fee! But if I am there and if I am waiting they will stick with me, talk with me, and not abandon me. It must be an ADA difference.


  2. Further investigation reveals that these interpreters are on staff at this particular hospital. I’m told they’re not paid per-Diem, but they are scheduled really tightly, and shuffled around the hospital like crash carts.

    My response to my doctor, in this particular case, came from a history of support personnel type work. I tend to be a bit defensive when I hear somebody who’s making 10 times what I do, complaining about “that damn working class.”

    Don’t get me wrong, here. I love my endocrinologist, and respect his skills. I just see this kind of thing all the time, and now that I’m involved with some interpreters – and I see how hard they work, and how dedicated and devoted they are – it’s difficult to stand by and see them get slammed by people who don’t understand all the implications of their job.


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