Frequently Asked Questions about Interpreting in Medical, Legal, and Insurance Settings

What are Interpreting in Medical, Legal, and Insurance Settings about?
This DVD series is specifically designed to allow observations of interpreted conversations in settings that are usually restricted and not available for observation. None of the conversations was rehearsed or scripted, to make them as natural as possible. All of the interpreters learned ASL as adults.
How many DVDs are there in the series?
There are three separate DVDs: Interpreting in Medical Settings, Interpreting in Legal Settings, and Interpreting in Insurance Settings. Each DVD is accompanied by a book that describes the value of observational learning, study questions, terminology, and transcripts.
What is the goal of The Settings Series?
These DVDs allow you to learn about aspects of interpreting dialogues through observation and to become familiar with terminology used in medical, legal, and insurance settings.
Why is observational learning important?
Bandura (1977) and other learning theorists say that all learning begins with observing and then practicing. Observation can shorten the time required in learning complex skills.
Why these particular settings?
Interpreted conversations that occur in medical, legal, and insurance settings could negatively affect those relying on the interpretation, if the interpretation is faulty.
Were these interpreted conversations rehearsed or scripted?
No. Neither the speakers nor the interpreters rehearsed any the conversations. There were no formal scripts. The conversations are as naturally occurring as could be arranged.
How did you choose the interpreters?
I intentionally chose interpreters who learned ASL as adults because I want to provide encouragement for other interpreters or students who did not grow up using ASL or have ASL as a first language.
Did you edit out mistakes to make the interpretations more accurate?
No. The interpretations you see on the DVD appear just as they were rendered by the interpreters in real time. The interpreters did not rehearse or work from a script in order to give a realistic example of what interpreting in these settings could look like.
What were the interpreters instructed to do?
Each interpreter was invited to interpret for a specific conversation. Each was instructed to interpret just as they ordinarily would, including using consecutive interpreting if they wished, stopping the speaker or signer, or asking for clarification. They were encouraged to manage the conversations as they would in any setting.
Were the physicians, attorneys, and insurance agent shown in the DVDs actors?
No. The physician, insurance agent, dentist, and attorneys were all practicing professionals in the San Diego area. Many of them allowed us to film in their offices to make the videos more authentic. Each of these people talked about topics that they would routinely face in their professional practice.
How can The Settings DVDs be used in the classroom?
Teachers can view the interpreted conversations with their students and have discussions about:
  • How the interpreter managed the conversation
  • The accuracy of the interpreted message
  • Developing language to provide feedback to other interpreters
  • Analyzing the impact of the interpretation on the communicative event
  • Alternate ways to convey the message
  • The importance of familiarizing oneself with terminology as a form or preparation for assignments
How can The Settings DVDs be used by individuals?
Certified interpreters can obtain CEUs for studying and practicing observational techniques by creating an Independent Study Plan and having the plan approved by a sponsor. Individuals can follow the suggestions offered in the section on how to use The Settings in classrooms.
How do I practice interpreting with The Settings DVDs?
These DVDs of interpreted conversations are not really intended for practicing dialogic interpreting. They are designed for practicing observation. There are some monologic passages excerpted in the Bonus Feature section that can be used for interpreting practice. Your practice on the monologic passages can be compared with the interpretations rendered by the interpreter on the DVD. The main purpose of these DVDs is to allow observations of interpreting in restricted settings.
What if I have other questions about how to use The Settings DVDs?
Just contact Carol Patrie at

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