Students in LLC’s Online Certificate Interpreting Program Collaborate with School of Public Health & Health Sciences for Simulation Exercises
In early fall 2023, Megan Gross, assistant professor in the Dept of Speech, Language, and Hearing Services, approached Cristiano Mazzei, LLC lecturer and director of the Online Certificate in Professional Translation and Interpreting (OCPTI), to discuss the possibility of collaborating with their students’ simulation exercises involving speakers of languages other than English (LOTE).
The idea was to prepare Speech Language Pathology and Audiology (SLP/AuD) students to work with spoken language interpreters, adding this important skill to their learning experience.
“I was excited about the collaboration for two reasons; we would be providing much-needed training to health sciences students on how to work with spoken language interpreters, and opportunities for our interpreting students to practice their skills. A perfect example of interdisciplinary and interprofessional experience for both sets of students,” added Mazzei.
The simulation exercise, which took place on Nov. 14, 2023, involved SLP/AuD students conducting interviews with LOTE patients while online interpreting students played the role of the interpreters. The experience was conducted in breakout sessions on Zoom and all students participated in debriefing sessions afterward to discuss the interactions, reflecting on questions such as, “what are your takeaways about collaborations between interpreters and providers to provide quality care to patients who are language marginalized?”
This experience could not have been done without the support of OCPTI faculty members Laurence Ibrahim Aibo and Yasmin Alkashef, who helped recruit interpreting students for the project and participated in the interactions.
“It was a unique opportunity for me to observe students apply interpreting protocols and skills in a safe, yet challenging environment,” said Ibrahim Aibo about the collaboration.
When asked about her participation as an observer during the simulations Alkashef added, “These opportunities boost the interpreting students’ confidence by taking them outside the sterile classroom environment and yet remaining in a safe space to make errors before they go out into the real world.”
The simulated interviews were conducted with “patients” who spoke Spanish, Portuguese, French, Mandarin, and Japanese, and provided SLP/AuD students with the opportunities to put into practice important interviewing skills learned during their studies at UMass. “The goal is to give everyone a chance to practice in a supportive space before having these interactions with real patients. Students who participated in this activity in past years have said that it really helped them feel more prepared when collaborating with interpreters in their off-campus clinical placements,” added Megan Gross, who was aided by SLP/AuD professors Tomma Henckel, David Gooler, and Jane Sackett.
Of the experience, online interpreting student Hsuan (Rita) Chen, who resides and participated from Taiwan, said, “If I had not done my ‘interpreter pre-session’ [short interpreter’s introduction stating their role and how they will manage the flow of communication], things would not have gone so smoothly. This enabled everyone to understand how things were going to work.”