Tag Archives: Spanish-English medical interpreting

Baby Cheeks & Folk Medicine Practices (A Story about Cachetes)

 

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Here’s a Guatemalan baby being carried on his mother’s back. Don’t you love the colorful fabrics?

“Aw, Tía Elena, look at that baby!” Emily said. Together, aunt and niece watched the little fellow being carried through the mall.

“Those cheeks!” Tía Elena smiled. “Now we might call those cachetes.”

Emily had to grin. As a Spanish-English interpreter, her Tía Elena couldn’t help dropping in a little language lesson now and then. “Cachetes, huh?”

, and it looks like his mamá took good care of them, too.” She stopped in front of a mirror and gave a silly smile. “Kind of like mine. No sagging cheeks for me!”

Emily giggled at her aunt’s antics.

“You can laugh,” Tía Elena said, “but if my mamita had stood me up on my little baby feet too early, my cheeks might have ‘fallen’ and been saggy for life!”

Emily raised an eyebrow. “Seriously?”

“Well, that’s what Mamá thought until a doctor kindly told her not to worry about it much. And look at me now!” She gave her cheeks one last playful pat before hauling Emily off to her favorite shoe store.

That night, Emily decided to check out Tía Elena’s story. Sure enough, her smartphone delivered  the answer: her tía hadn’t made it up! Hey, this Understanding the Guatemalan Patient looks pretty cool! Maybe I could get it for Tía Elena for Christmas. She’d like it. And it would even be small enough to fit in her huge-but-almost-full purse! Emily added the book to her Amazon cart and proceeded to checkout.

Looking for a gift for a medical interpreter or a language lover? Full of interesting words and folk medicine/cultural tidbits, Understanding the Guatemalan Patient is sure to bring hours of education and fun. And with our “BOGO” (Buy-1-Get-One) special offer through midnight (CDT) on Monday, October 19, 2015, there’s even more reason to check it out today! (No coupon code required.)

 

A Taste from Guatemala: So what makes an avocado smoothie awesome?

Avocado Smoothie pic

It all started at Las Puertas, a restaurant once located on the island of Flores in Lake Petén Itza. There they served the best smoothies – or licuados as the menu called them – in town. Along with traditional licuado flavors like melón, they offered a more exotic choice: aguacate! You read that right…avocado it was! Thanks to a Japanese friend who was living in Guatemala, this smoothie became a new favorite.

Not convinced that an avocado smoothie could be good? The idea may make American taste buds tremble, but an adventurous person like yourself will surely give it a try!

Here’s the recipe.

Awesome Avocado Smoothie

Yields: 1 generous serving

Add all of the following ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!                 

10-12 ice cubes

1/2 cup plain or Greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk (almond milk if you prefer)

3 slices from 1/2 of an avocado

1 teaspoon vanilla

sweetener (to taste)

Everyone has their own “sweet scale”. Do what you like, but you may find that you enjoy this treat without any sweetener, especially if you have more European tastes. It’s all thanks to the final ingredient, which is…

1 teaspoon lime juice

Yes, the sweet tang of lime makes this licuado awesome! Without knowing about the lime, this smoothie would be…not the same.

Sometimes it’s like that with words, isn’t it? Knowing just the right word can really flavor up a conversation. That’s what Understanding the Guatemalan Patient is here for – to help you take your conversations with Guatemalans from adequate to awesome.

If you already own a copy, don’t forget to send us your feedback via the contact us page or post a review on Amazon. We’d love to hear from you! And for all of you spunky smoothie sippers, let us know your thoughts on the licuado de aguacate as well!

¿Me duele mi…coco?: A Taste of Guatemalan Slang

hrum-coconutAs you chat with your Hispanic patient, he tells you that his “coco” hurts. You know he doesn’t mean chocolate, and you’re quite sure he doesn’t really mean “coconut”…In fact, you are nearly positive he means his “head” hurts and can get right to the heart of that matter. After all, you read about it in the English-Spanish section of Understanding the Guatemalan Patient last night. The best part? Your patient feels like you really can communicate together.

Would you like to learn not only other slang expressions for “head” but also other words and folk medicine tidbits to help you communicate with the Guatemalans you serve? Check out Understanding the Guatemalan Patient today!

Licuados: A Sip of Guatemala

During a day spent in and out of the tropical sun and blanketed in high humidity, what could be more refreshing than a chilly smoothie (or licuado, as we say in Guatemala)? There’s just something about ice, milk and/or yogurt, a dash of sweetener and lush tropical fruit blended together. The varieties are as plentiful as the tropical fruits available at the mercado. Banana, papaya, cantaloupe, watermelon and even avocado can each create a scrumptious blend with the other ingredients.

Beyond the yumminess, there’s another reason to enjoy smoothies: staying hydrated! We often read or hear how important hydration is for the brain. Dehydration should be a noteworthy concern, especially in third-world countries like Guatemala. Whether or not you live in the tropics and whether you are a healthcare provider, interpreter, student, parent or some other vital role, you need your brain to be in tip-top shape to keep learning and serving. But let’s face it, water can taste, well, rather plain after a while. Instead of heading for a soda can or another latte, why not blend up a brain-boosting smoothie?

Feeling thirsty yet? If so, you’re in luck! Today we’re sharing a recipe for a longtime favorite. This simple Licuado de Banano brings back memories of crates of bananas at the local market, after-clinic refreshments and Guatemala school snack times. We hope you enjoy it and that you build your own set of sweet, healthful memories along the way.

Licuado de Banano Recipe

(This recipe makes an individual serving. However, it’s easy to double and share with a friend!)

Ingredients:

6 ice cubes

1/2 banana, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup milk (In Guatemala, we used powdered milk, but you can use regular milk or almond milk.)

dash of vanilla

sweetener to taste (Everyone has different preferences about this, so go with how you like it! If your banana is nicely ripe, you may decide the smoothie is perfect without added sugars.)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into your favorite glass and plop in a straw if you’d like. Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe? Feel free to share it with us. Here at Understanding the Guatemalan Patient, we’re always on the lookout for good ideas! And if you would like to find out what makes an avocado smoothie awesome, drop us a line, and we’ll post it in the upcoming weeks.

On a Medical Mission Team: Understanding Mayan Spanish Speakers

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You’ve dreamed of this day. You’ve studied and saved for this day. Now here it is: your first day seeing patients with a medical mission team in Guatemala.

The still-cool morning breezes waft through the metal screens over the windows of the concrete building. You smile at your first patient, a man from the campo who looks like he has labored long throughout his life, and begin a conversation. Since you’ve studied Spanish for several years now, your team decided you don’t need one of the in-demand interpreters as much as other team members, so you’re on your own for this conversation. Shouldn’t be hard, right?

Then your patient says, “Me duele mi canilla.” 

Your optimistic thoughts screech to a halt. Canilla? You’ve never heard that word! So much for those years of studying. The way he set his worn hand on his leg makes you think there’s some connection, but you want to know…and you don’t want your ignorance to make him feel uncomfortable.

You calmly look around. No interpreters nearby.

Then you remember that little blue book your dad gave you when he dropped you off at the airport. “Might come in handy,” he said.

You pull it out of the bag on the table next to you. It’s a glossary. Where are the “c” words? Oh, yay, there it is! 

canilla – leg, lower leg

You look your patient in the eye with a smile and say, “¿Se duele su canilla?” You set your hand on your leg like he had. “¿Cómo su pierna?

¡Sí!” He nods his head vigorously. “Me duele mi canilla.”

Oh, good! Now you can continue with your consultation.

Later you get a chance to ask one of the translators about canilla. He laughs. “Canilla is like an animal’s leg,” he says. “People, especially those who grew up speaking a Mayan language and speak Spanish as a second language, use it for a person’s leg, too.”

Ah, now you understand even better. And maybe tonight you’ll look through more of those words from that Understanding the Guatemalan Patient. It seems like it really might come in handy.

Gearing up for a medical mission trip to Guatemala or know someone who is? Maybe you’ll want your own copy of Understanding the Guatemalan Patient. Check it out on Amazon today!

Cachetes

 

IMG_9973

Here’s a Guatemalan baby being carried on his mother’s back. Don’t you love the colorful fabrics?

“Aw, Tía Elena, look at that baby!” Emily said. Together, aunt and niece watched the little fellow being carried through the mall.

“Those cheeks!” Tía Elena smiled. “Now we might call those cachetes.”

Emily had to grin. As a Spanish-English interpreter, her Tía Elena couldn’t help dropping in a little language lesson now and then. “Cachetes, huh?”

, and it looks like his mamá took good care of them, too.” She stopped in front of a mirror and gave a silly smile. “Kind of like mine. No sagging cheeks for me!”

Emily giggled at her aunt’s antics.

“You can laugh,” Tía Elena said, “but if my mamita had stood me up on my little baby feet too early, my cheeks might have ‘fallen’ and been saggy for life!”

Emily raised an eyebrow. “Seriously?”

“Well, that’s what Mamá thought until a doctor kindly told her not to worry about it much. And look at me now!” She gave her cheeks one last playful pat before hauling Emily off to her favorite shoe store.

That night, Emily decided to check out Tía Elena’s story. Sure enough, her smartphone delivered  the answer: her tía hadn’t made it up! Hey, this Understanding the Guatemalan Patient looks pretty cool! Maybe I could get it for Tía Elena’s birthday. She’d like it. And it would even be small enough to fit in her huge-but-almost-full purse! Emily added the book to her Amazon cart and proceeded to checkout.

Looking for a gift for a medical interpreter or a language lover? Full of interesting words and folk medicine/cultural tidbits, Understanding the Guatemalan Patient is sure to bring hours of education and fun. Check it out today! 

 

When a “vulture” entered your conversation…

Summer – at long last! You’ve been so ready to be done with your thick textbooks and exams, and you finally are…at least for a few glorious months. Right now you’re daydreaming about your upcoming trip to Guatemala. You can’t wait to go back. In fact, you’re going through medical school so that you can serve Latin Americans with your hard-won skills.

You start doodling out a packing list. After all, you learned some things on your trip last year. Might as well benefit from them!

Hey, where is that book, the little blue one that your Spanish-interpreter aunt gave you before your last trip? You scour your shelves – or rather the piles on your shelves. (Your organizational skills haven’t recovered from the “finals flurry” yet.) Ah-hah! There it is. Understanding the Guatemalan Patient: A Glossary of Spanish Medical Terms and Folk MedicineSettling in your overstuffed chair, you flip through the pages. Wow, does it bring back memories! Like that time with the “vulture”…

It was the second day of your first medical mission trip to Guatemala. You were seeing patients under the supervision of an MD with a Spanish interpreter nearby. Your little patient looked to be about five and was having a hard time of it. The interpreter was talking through the symptoms with the mother when a funny word caught your ears. The mom, who was clearly of Mayan descent, was saying something about “zope“.

Since your aunt is a Spanish interpreter Spanish is woven into your life pretty well. But “zope”? Doesn’t that mean “vulture”?

That’s when you remembered that your aunt gave you that book that’s supposed to deal with slang expressions. You pluck it out of your pocket and flip to the “z” words. Yep, there it is: zope.

“So he’s been vomiting?” you ask.

The translator nods. “Yes, how did you know?”

“Well, I speak a little Spanish, but -” You hand her the book. “- my aunt gave me this.”

She skims a couple of pages. “We should have these here.”

“Maybe I can get some to you,” you say with a smile.

Yeah, that was a fun memory. Your Spanish is a lot better this year, but you’re definitely taking this book along again. In fact, maybe you’ll get a couple of extras. Why not check it out on Amazon? Your other team members should have them as a recuerdo if nothing else.