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Note From Greg:

Hello All,

I love challenges. That’s why I decided to write a little more this month about the revision of our The Essential Piece training manual and the new vocabulary words and knowledge it brings to our interpreter-trainees. We added many of the new terms to reflect changes in medical practices. As CultureSmart sees things, if words are important to medicine, they’re important to interpreters. We want to help our trainees meet the challenges of our field, a discipline that changes constantly and requires endless, daily study. The dozens and dozens of new words in our manual are just one more way CultureSmart-trained interpreters can distinguish themselves as competent professionals with up-to-date skills and knowledge. We realize that more words means more work but, in some ways, we see CultureSmart as a niche program. We may require more homework and effort than other training courses, but we think our program offers more payoffs, too. The reason? New understanding of medicine through new terminology like doula, CMO, cochlear implant, cryotherapy, botulism, lancinating, bradykinesia, dysphasia, fibromyalgia, tetanus, Tourette’s syndrome…

Be In Touch,


Out and About: Medical Interpreter Training Programs

  • An open‐enrollment summer session of The Essential Piece training will begin on Saturday, June 6, 2009 at Newton‐Wellesley Hospital , 2014 Washington St., Newton, Mass. The program will run from 9 a.m.‐2 p.m. on Saturdays, June 6—August 8, 2009; no classes on July 4th. Currently, we have participants registered in Spanish, and Chinese. Two organizations have expressed interest in Somali. Please contact us, if your language is not listed as additional languages may be offered, based on demand. Registration fee is $695. Please visit for information or to register for our courses.

New Pushes on Standards and Certification for Interpreters

National standards and certification for healthcare interpreters are drawing closer to reality. The National Coalition on Healthcare Interpreter Certification (NCC), a group of 18 organizations, is collaboratively studying best practices and developing a single, national process for assessing, training, testing, and certifying medical interpreters.

As we’ve reported previously in The Interpreter, CultureSmart takes part in efforts of The National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC), a Coalition member, to develop national standards for medical interpreter training. A grant that NCIHC received from The California Endowment is funding the Coalition’s work. Coalition committees are examining topics including certification for languages of lesser diffusion and continuing education for interpreters. Another effort toward national certification is also progressing: The International Medical Interpreters Association is working with Language Line University and PSI Services on a program that would use prerequisites, a written exam, and skills assessment for certification.

CultureSmart Training at CUNY

In mid‐March, CultureSmart completed our first medical interpreter training program and training of trainers at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Hostos Community College in the Bronx: a 40‐ hour course for speakers of Spanish and English. Though the training at Hostos, the first in a series of courses at CUNY colleges, may sound routine, it customized Culturesmart’s program to CUNY’s needs by training equal numbers of new trainers and interpreters… all in one group. Read the rest of this entry »

Greetings from Greg

Dear colleagues and friends:

I’m excited about all that we accomplished this year but I’m even more excited to think about 2008!

CultureSmart managed in 2007 to expand its list of clients and collaborating organizations, both within and outside Massachusetts. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to increase the number of people who benefit from our services as we reach out to new communities throughout the U.S. Our talented language coaches and trainers have helped us prepare new medical interpreters from Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Language coaching is a unique and integral part of our comprehensive The Essential Piece program: few other medical interpreter training programs have language-specific components, and I know of no other company offering our diversity of languages.

Best Wishes,

Gregory Figaro