Are there topics that you enjoy working with but can be emotionally draining? For me, palliative care is one example. I love working on translations that can help promote understanding of palliative care among Russian patients and the general public, as well as the development of palliative care in Russia, but it can be hard to look past the suffering and pain behind the text, especially if it is about pediatric palliative care.
I was glad to discover that ATA offers a webinar on this subject. “Linguistic Challenges in Palliative Care” by Jessica Goldhirsch can be found in ATA’s Webinars On Demand. Jessica Goldhirsch, LCSW, MSW, MPH is a licensed clinical social worker with the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Institute’s inpatient adult palliative care consult service. She teaches staff interpreters and clinical staff how to work together effectively, and her background and experience really show.
Ms. Goldhirsch talks about the role of palliative care in the healthcare system and different stages of palliative care (hospice care is just one of them). She breaks down commonly used terminology, lists the most common misconceptions, and describes typical challenges. She stresses that the interpreter/translator must be an integral part of the palliative care team, backs it up with examples, and gives advice on how to become a member of this team. Most importantly, Ms. Goldhirsch explains how crucial it is to understand the patient’s cultural norms, beliefs, and traditions, and encourages interpreters and translators to be cultural meditators and coaches for the palliative care team.
I found this webinar both highly informative and really empowering. It didn’t make palliative care less of a difficult subject, but it helped me understand its scope and purpose, and made it clear what my role is. Armed with tips and useful resources that Ms. Goldhirsch generously shared, I feel better prepared, both mentally and emotionally, to tackle future translations on this subject.
I am grateful that ATA offered this webinar and included it in its Webinars On Demand. Ms. Goldhirsch mentioned other topics that she believes deserve to be addressed in more detail, such as serious illness conversation guides and palliative care family meetings, and I hope that ATA will offer webinars on these topics in the future.
Veronika Demichelis is an ATA-certified English>Russian translator. She holds an MA in Linguistics and an MBA in Human Resources Management. She specializes in corporate communication, HR, and social responsibility, but also enjoys working with health and wellness, in particular patient outreach and education materials. More information can be found on her website, https://veronikademichelis.com/.