Three HGH Clinic Staff Achieve Prestigious Translation Certification

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

Three clinic staff, including Gaby Chavez, Gudelia Mendoza and Emelyn Ramirez, were honored Thursday, May 30, with certificates of accomplishment as well as some tokens of the hospital’s appreciation.

They join eight of their fellow clinic staff members who certified using the same exam in May 2018.

“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 three staff members are native Spanish speakers but their certification exam was a comprehensive review of medical terminology—terms they might not even know in English or Spanish.

The three spent multiple days in hard study before diving into the exam, which took several hours to complete. They said they had to google some of the English terms to understand their meaning before learning their Spanish equivalent.

“The test is not easy,” agreed Bell. “When we say they are certified to translate in Spanish, we mean it; they have earned this title.”

Chavez works in the HGH Pediatric Clinic, while Mendoza and Ramirez work with Dr. Roger Brecheen, an OB/GYN. Regardless of their permanent positions, however, the women’s certification means they may 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 staff members 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 ladies enough; their service is invaluable in helping our Spanish-language patients feel knowledgeable and confident while they are in our care.”