The students will provide medical interpretation for Stanford Health Care.
“The Interpreter Services Team at Stanford Health Care is part of a world class medical team and valuable role models for our students,” said Career Advisor Winnie Yung-Chung Heh. “They are the most skilled and compassionate medical interpreters, and deeply committed to cultivating future colleagues. Over the last 30 years, their annual summer internship program has changed the lives of so many of our students and alumni.”
We spoke with Rachel Chan, a first-year student in the Conference Interpretation program whose languages of study are Chinese and English. She is still exploring her focus and specialties, but is particularly drawn to topics that concern the well-being of humankind and require international cooperation, such as climate change and nonproliferation. She says facilitating communication in these fields would be immensely meaningful. We asked Chan to tell us more about how she landed this impressive position.
How did you hear about the internship?
I first heard about the internship from my peers who attended the internship information session offered by Stanford Health Care. To learn more about the opportunity, I checked out their website and attended their sessions during the career fair.
What experiences at MIIS helped you land this position?
The career fair was helpful as it allowed me to talk to the people in charge of the internship program at Stanford. They discussed in detail the arrangement and logistics, so it was easier to plan. But more importantly, they shared with us their own experience working in the hospital as interpreters, which is as challenging as it is rewarding. It reassured me that this is a job I truly want. Teachers from our program also offered me practical advice for the interview, giving me a better sense of what was to come and how to be best prepared.
What excites you most about the internship?
I’ve always wanted to do good with my profession and this position gives me a chance to do so. People who need interpreting services in hospitals are mostly senior citizens or newcomers in our community, both of which are rather vulnerable. I’m excited to be able to help them receive the accurate and adequate treatment they need with the skills I have been working on at the Middlebury Institute. Also, I’m really looking forward to interpreting in Cantonese, my mother tongue!
How will this experience further your professional goals?
Interpreting in a classroom environment is vastly different from doing so in a real-life setting, where people are truly dependent on the interpreter to express and understand. By putting theory into practice, I am looking forward to gaining a more in depth understanding of how interpretation facilitates communication. And of course, working in a world-class medical institution where cutting edge medical innovations take place will be an enriching experience, both as an interpreter and as a person.
What advice would you share with students?
Just go for it. There’s never “a right time” to start looking for and applying to internships. As an overthinker, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending out CVs and preparing for interviews. The opportunity might appear to be out of reach right until the moment you seize it. Trying to divide an overwhelming task into manageable chunks helped me a lot as it allows me to focus on one small step at a time. Make sure you take breaks in between tasks so you can work more sustainably. Finally, as the cliché goes, have faith in yourself.
In total, three Spanish interpretation students (Audrey Meshulam MATI ’22, Alison Silverstein MACI ’22, and Laura Yedra MATI ’23), two Chinese interpretation students (Rachel Chan MACI ’23 and Hannah Liu MACI ’22), and one Russian interpretation student (Ben Stamp MACI ’23) will take part in this internship. They will join several Middlebury Institute alumni currently working for Stanford Health Care as in-house translators and interpreters, such as Spanish interpretation and translation student Daniel Hurwitz-Goodman MATI ’22 who participated in the internship in the summer of 2021 and was subsequently hired by the hospital as a relief interpreter.