Anderson, Indiana

AU prof to use multilingual skills for medical interpretation

Thu, 2011-12-22 08:00 -- univcomm
December 22, 2011

Inge Baird, assistant professor of German and Spanish at Anderson University, recently found a new way to exercise her multilingual talents. Fluent in German, Portuguese, and Spanish, Baird was interested in finding ways to interpret outside of the classroom. She discovered Bridging the Gap, a cross-cultural healthcare program. In one week, Baird completed the course and received a certification in medical interpreting.

baird“Many people throughout the world are need of proper health care education and medicine,” said Baird. “However, they lack a mentor who is fluent in their native language.”

Bridging the Gap trains bilingual citizens in the field of health, including understanding doctor’s procedures, health care options, and information about health insurance. To complete the program, individuals must pass a language proficiency exam and attend 40 hours of classroom lectures. The individuals who pass the exam are then given a certification that permits them to interpret and translate in hospitals nationwide. In the United States, the interpreters are able to assist the patient in understanding all healthcare and prescription options available to them.

“Medicine is practiced differently throughout the world. Some countries use teas and herbal supplements, contrary to our country’s reliance on prescription drugs,” said Baird.

The certification she has acquired will benefit not only her, but her students. Having a certification allows her to better educate her students on the potential career opportunities that await them after college. Spanish interpreters are currently in high demand. Although Baird mostly interprets Spanish, there is an occasional need for Portuguese or German interpretation. Because many of her foreign language students hope to teach English as a foreign language, Baird hopes that her abilities will not only help people in need, but influence her students to follow a similar career path.

Esther Doub holds a paid position as a medical interpreter for the Madison County Community Health Center. She hopes that the foreign language students at AU see the local opportunity to use their degree. “There are plenty of fields besides education available to those who hold a degree in a second language,” said Doub. Now that Baird holds this certification, Doub hopes that more students will be exposed to this potential career path in the foreign language field.

Baird hopes to serve as an interpreter at hospitals in the area. She hopes that through her cultural experiences and medical interpretation class, she will be able to reach those in need, and help those who are unable to communicate.

“It’s not just interpreting words, but cultural difference between the two,” said Baird. “Since I have embraced several cultures in my lifetime, I am better able to determine the disconnect between the two languages and cultures and receive exceptional health care.”

— Kristen Schaap is a senior from Chicago, Ill., majoring in communication arts. Schaap is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.