Do you have any questions?

I interpret at Akron Childrens Hospital. At the end of sessions the provider asks “Do you have any questions?” The other day during a pulmonology appointment a mom asked a question that broke me up. I lost all sense of decorum and laughed aloud. Here is the scene.

A nurse practitioner took great pains to explain a child’s asthma action plan. She apologized as the action plan was in English, not Spanish. After ten minutes of careful instructions, the provider asks “Do you have any questions?” The first words out of the mother’s mouth were “How do you manage to get your hair to that lovely black color? I dye my own and can’t get it to hold.”

I cracked up. A puzzled look from all parties. Why is the interpreter laughing? I gained composure and interpreted mother’s question. The provider offered the beautician’s name and number. Mother, provider and child exited the room with the comfort of knowing that the little one has an action plan and mother can get her hair done right.

Can you share experiences you have had with unexpected questions? Thanks for listening.

Published by The Interpreter Fellow

I am an Ohio State Certified Court Interpreter and Certified Healthcare Interpreter in Spanish. MA Translation from The Institute for Applied Linguistics at Kent State University. Currently I serve Akron Children's Hospital Pediatrics and local courts.

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CROSSES RIVERS

thoughts on interpreting

Liam O'Dell

Freelance Journalist and Campaigner

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