Approached by the State Government of Victoria, I had the pleasure to do medical interpreting for 24 Shanghai hospital presidents for their Melbourne visit. Have I missed anything on medical interpreting tips? Do you agree with my opinions? Please comment!

The 5-day intensive programme consists of presentations, site visits and plenty of Q&As. It covers the University of Melbourne, hospitals, and research institutes in the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct.

Below I summarise the challenges and joys of doing medical interpreting.

Challenges and coping strategies
Understand the interpreting requirement, as it varies case by case

The interpreting from my past assignments was that delegates didn’t need to have all the details, but just a summary of each slide. So my interpreting was slide by slide. For this project, however, the delegates are passionate to learn and requested to know all the details of the talk. I thus interpret with a few sentences’ intervals to give a thorough picture, which puts high demands on both linguistic and medical understanding; – but again, you grow at work!

When slides are not available beforehand

This is because either the content is confidential, or the speakers are too busy on other tasks, and they may only have time to finalise the slides at the last minute, leaving no time for the interpreter to prepare beforehand. Here being in allied health and having a