3 Books that Made Me a Better Interpreter and Why (Part 2)

3 books series

This is the second in this series. If you missed the first one, no worries. Start with this one and work your way around to the others, if you like. Now for the next book that helped me become a better medical interpreter, even though the book had nothing at all to do with interpreting.

Next up. . . Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

Brief synopsis: This non-fiction book sheds light on the personal experiences of the author, herself an introvert, and delves into the strengths of the introverts among us.

Insights Gained:

  • There’s quite a bit of scientific study on this topic.
  • Introversion is not a pathology, which might be surprising for some to learn.
  • “The trick is not to amass all the different kinds of available power, but to use well the kind you’ve been granted.” (Kindle location 4594).

Better interpreter because:

As interpreters in the medical field, we encounter the full gamut of people and circumstances.  While no one person can be boxed in by a label (like “introvert” or “extrovert”), having an awareness of this concept enables us to – at least potentially – facilitate communication more effectively. Take a group situation, for example a family meeting) where there is one interpreter to give voice to seven people who are present. It’s possible that an introvert in the group will wait until indicated or asked to speak up. As an interpreter, I might need to think about how I am including or excluding people from the communication based on how I am managing the flow of communication among those present. Perhaps I make subtle eye contact with the son-in-law who hasn’t said anything, in the off chance that he is waiting for some indication from me, the interpreter, that it’s his turn to speak. Or perhaps I set the expectation as part of the pre-session that, because I am one voice for a number of people, I would like for the provider – or whoever is in charge of the meeting, usually there is someone – to periodically ask if anyone else has something to say before moving on with or ending the meeting. Whatever the case, I want to be careful not to assume that everyone present will do whatever it takes to get my attention so that I can interpret what they have to say. I have to be alert and vigilant.

This has also helped me in terms of my own self-care planning. As luck would have it, I tend more towards the introverted end of the Introvert-Extrovert continuum. An introverted interpreter? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Aren’t interpreters extroverted while translators are introverted? Not necessarily. As for the self-care strategies, I not only enjoy but benefit from taking time to just chill, especially after prolonged periods of stimulation. It has also helped me to recognize that my colleagues might have similar or different self-care needs and that is neither is good or bad, superior or inferior to the other. They are just different. Learning this has helped grow my self-awareness and my consideration for the needs of others. It just might do the same for you.

Bonus: The author shares a fair bit of information on scientific research, different cultures, and medical terminology through out the book. If that doesn’t pique your interest, you must not be an interpreter.

What book has helped you grow your own self-awareness?

Related Posts:

  • 3 Books that Made Me a Better Interpreter and Why (Part 1)
  • 3 Books that Made Me a Better Interpreter and Why (Part 3)
Posted on April 2, 2015 and filed under Interpreter.