HGH Clinic Staff Achieve Prestigious Translation Certification

Eight clinic staff members at Humboldt General Hospital have combined their Spanish language skills with serious study to certify as in-house translators.

The eight women, including Lisset Castellanos, Marie Linares, Diana Castillejos, Noemi Ayon, Rosalva Contreras, Cynthia Reynoso, Elvira Ker and Joanna Moreno, were honored Tuesday, May 29, with certificates of accomplishment as well as some tokens of the hospital’s appreciation.

“I am so proud of these ladies,” said Debi Bell, LPN, Rural Health Clinic Clinical Care Coordinator. “They did not have to do this, but they wanted to; they are very caring people who want to help patients have the best experience possible at Humboldt General Hospital—regardless of what language they speak.”

The eight are native Spanish speakers but their certification exam was a comprehensive review of medical terminology—terms they might not know in English or Spanish.

Rose Contreras said she spent a good deal of time googling terms before memorizing what they meant. Others agreed their experience was the same.

Marie Linares said doctors try to share most information in layman’s terms with patients, “so that helps.” Still, the group said the nearly two-hour exam was a test of every “what if” scenario that might arise in a medical situation.

“They need to be prepared, but that test was not easy,” agreed Bell. “When we say they are certified to translate in Spanish, we mean it; they have earned this title.”

The women work in different areas of the hospital, from the Walk-In Clinic, to the Surgery Clinic to various provider offices within the Rural Health Clinic. Regardless of their permanent positions, however, the women will be called upon to translate in other areas of the hospital as needed.

“This is a very rigorous process,” said Bell. “We have to know that when one of these ladies is called into a medical situation, she is going to translate word for word what a medical professional is saying; it’s so important that our patients have the exact information our providers need to share.”

Bell continued, “We can’t thank these eight enough; they are going to really help our Spanish-language patients feel knowledgeable and confident while they’re in our care.”