• Liz Essary

What the Heck is SimLab?

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

Hey, I'm glad you asked! It's not a training. It's not a conference. And we think there's nothing else like it for professional development for healthcare interpreters.

SimLab is modeled after co>lab, a peer-based interpreting intensive for conference interpreters. In fact, one of the co>lab founders, Laura Holcomb, is also a Seven Sisters partner. SimLab is especially designed with healthcare interpreters in mind; we create a simulation lab, just like healthcare providers-in-training use.

SimLab, like co>lab, brings together interpreters who've already been trained and have experience. Unlike a traditional training, where a trainer is giving instruction and feedback, the participants interpret unscripted scenarios, and then give each other peer feedback. They also receive feedback from the healthcare providers--A rare and valuable treat.

Giving and receiving feedback is the foundation of SimLab, and we help everyone understand how to engage in feedback that in meaningful, goal-based, and interpreter-driven. In fact, we like to call it peer support rather than feedback.

So what about the scripted dialogues? We've scrapped those as much as possible. As a reference point, we use the unscripted interpreting practice model that Laura developed for Glendon College's Virtual Healthcare Interpreting Practicum (VHIP). Instead of interpreters reading the part of the healthcare provider from a script, actual healthcare providers play the part of themselves. And instead of having interpreters reading the part of the patient from a script, interpreters prepare a persona to play the part of the patient. Without the script, we have more natural flow and more spontaneous opportunities for the interpreter to make decisions.

For our SimLab Mexico event, run as part of Desafío Lenguas 2020, we have a handful of healthcare providers who are generously giving their time to help with our unscripted practice. We also have some scripted practice for relay interpreting, and will practice remote interpreting as well. We've also got some time built into our days to prepare for our interpreting practice, and the hope is that we can take some good prep habits out into the world with us.

For our SimLab Indy event in July 2020, we're collaborating with the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine to build our interpreting practice right into the colloquium for students who've just finished their third year of medical school. The university has generously arranged to open their simulation lab and send students for our consecutive interpreting practice. We have two full days of back-to-back consecutive practice, on the third day we'll work with simultaneous, and then have a large group debrief with the medical students.

If you like a visual, you can see photos and videos as we post them on our Facebook and Instagram pages. We had a blast at SimLab in Cuernavaca, and you can read about it here.

So, are you ready to SimLab with us? Registration is open!

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