The Fall Court Interpreter Workshop had 26 participants representing 16 counties in Tennessee. For the first time, an interpreter for Karen, the language spoken in Myanmar and parts of Thailand, took the course. This workshop provided by the Tennessee Language Center is the first step in becoming an interpreter with the Administrative Office of the Courts.
TLC presented a webinar on Oct. 22 for interpreters, especially medical interpreters, about interpreting for end-of-life conversations. With palliative and hospice care becoming more common, interpreters are often present for these conversations, and the workshop focused on how to handle them.
“The subject was very interesting, and it does not get covered a lot,” said one attendee. “This was one of the best webinars I ever attended.”
The Tennessee Language Center’s Summer Court Interpreter Workshop had 27 participants from 16 different counties and two states (TN and MS). Our students included a Metro Nashville Police Department officer who wanted to improve his interpreting skills in order to better assist the Hispanic community he serves, an Afghan refugee currently working as a Dari interpreter in community settings who wanted to expand his services to the legal field, and a polyglot African student who speaks English, Swahili, French, and Portuguese, who also wanted to take his interpreting skills to the next level. TLC’s Court Interpreter Workshop is an approved training program for court interpreters in the state of Tennessee consisting of 14 hours of training on the Tennessee court system, ethics and standards of practice, and interpreting skills.
TLC Project Manager and Interpreter Richard Ponce de Leon assisted TIME Magazine journalist Abigail Abrams interview six Spanish-speaking migrant workers in East Tennessee. Abrams was writing an article on COVID-19 vaccine rollout across the nation. The workers harvest and process tomatoes at Jones & Church Farm in Unicoi, Tennessee.
Read the published article here.
Congratulations to Dennis Caffrey – instructor, trainer and interpreter for TLC for many years – on being recognized by Hands On Nashville with a Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Award for his volunteer work with Siloam Health.
As Siloam navigated serving on the frontlines of the pandemic with an incredibly diverse patient base, Dennis was the steady go-between communicator as staff cared for COVID-19 patients, educated others about the risks of the coronavirus, and eventually began administering vaccines to patients. His help in not only interpreting one language from another but overcoming cultural barriers ensured patients felt comfortable, heard, and that their needs were being met.
Dennis started to learn Spanish when he was 8-years-old, and advanced his knowledge of the language throughout college. Dennis spent 15 years of his Air Force career working in and with Latin America. Shortly after retiring from the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., he and his wife moved to Murfreesboro, TN.
“After about four months of ‘doing nothing,’ I took a course to become a medical interpreter and it was there that I learned about Siloam,” Dennis says. “It seemed like the perfect way for me to share my language and cultural skills while helping our non-English speaking neighbors deal with their health needs. That was by far the best decision I made since retirement.”
Dennis began volunteering with Siloam in 2010, and has been volunteering longer than the majority of Siloam Health’s staff. In 2020, he reached the milestone of 5,000 hours served with Siloam, completing 500 of those last year alone.