KGH Interpretation Spanish-English Medical & Mental Health Interpretation

Consecutive Interpreting Practice (EN): Interpreting Tone of Voice


One thing I always try to impart to my medical interpreting students is: as medical interpreters, it is important for us not only to interpret what is said, but also how it is said. Tone and inflection can completely change the meaning of an utterance, so interpreting tone incorrectly can negatively impact communication in an interpreted encounter. This is why I created this short video for interpreters to practice!

The video is a collection of utterances with a wide variety of different tones of voice and inflections. For each utterance, you’ll see a list of emotions on the screen that complement the tone of voice of the speaker. After each utterance, you’ll be given a pause to interpret what was said consecutively, remembering to interpret tone and inflection.

The characters in this video are entirely fictional. The thoughts and opinions these characters express are their own, and not necessarily thoughts/opinions shared by their creator (Kelly G. Henriquez). Remember: sometimes we have to interpret things we don’t agree with.


1Confused, incredulousWhat do you mean I have lung cancer? I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life, this makes no sense at all. You all must have mixed up the results or something. There’s no way that I have lung cancer, are you kidding me? [[Laughs]]
2Tired, exasperated, stressedThat’s the worst part, I’m so [[yawns]] tired but I can’t seem to sleep more than a few hours at a time. Once I wake up, all the thoughts about the things I have to do during the day start flooding in and I can’t stop thinking. It’s just too much, being a single dad and having to worry about every little thing.
3Skeptical, condescendingBut does she really need this shot? Are you familiar with Dr. Jane Orient? She actually recently testified in the senate against mandatory vaccinations. If vaccines are sooooo good for my child, then why are so many people, including doctors, speaking out against them? Hmm?
4Happy, gratefulYessss! I’m so happy! I’ve been working really hard and it’s such a great feeling to know all that hard work paid off! I really don’t think I could have done it without you though, doctor. I’m so thankful for all of the support and encouragement you’ve given me, really!
5Desperate, frightened, helplessDo we really have to do this? I can’t stop shaking. I’ve never had a surgery before and this is my first time in a hospital like this. Can my sister stay with me? Can I hold her hand while you do this? Please God, let everything turn out all right…
6Awe, worried, relievedI can’t believe he’s made so much progress. Before, he’d barely say a single word, and all of a sudden lately he’s been saying a bunch of things. I was so worried that he’d never live a normal life, but now… now I can’t say I’ve ever felt so relieved.
7Apathetic, boredYep. That sounds about right. I started taking the Zoloft when I was 18, Prozac when I was 24, and the Buspirone and Celexa when I was 28. I go to the doctor’s every few months and they always end up changing something because nothing seems to work.
8Remorseful, embarrassed, disgustedI’m soooooo sorry, I didn’t realize it was this bad. This is so embarrassing… I’m really sorry. I can’t even look at it without getting sick to my stomach. Just thinking about it makes me feel dizzy.
9Angry, accusatoryYOU told me to get this procedure done and that it would help with my symptoms. I kept on telling you and telling you that I didn’t want it done, but you didn’t give me any choice, now did you? And now where are we at now? Back to square one and I’m still in pain, but pissed off!
10Fragile, empty, sadI just feel like I’m all alone and that no one really understands me or what I’ve been through. Sometimes I just feel completely hollow inside, and the only time I ever really feel anything at all is when I start to think about how no one would miss me at all if I weren’t here anymore.

Did you have a hard time with any of the segments? If so, which ones, and what issues did you face? Comment here or on my YouTube channel, and don’t forget to subscribe for more interpreting resources!

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About the author

Kelly (Grzech) Henriquez

Kelly is a Certified Medical/Healthcare Interpreter (CMI-Spanish, CHI-Spanish) and a medical interpreter trainer. She work as an independent contractor in the greater Richmond, Virginia area as a Spanish-English medical and mental health interpreter. Her passions include affirming interpretation for sexual and gender diverse populations, supporting interpreter mental health, and interpreting developmental-behavioral pediatrics.

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KGH Interpretation Spanish-English Medical & Mental Health Interpretation

Kelly (Grzech) Henriquez

I am a Certified Medical/Healthcare Interpreter (CMI-Spanish, CHI-Spanish) and a medical interpreter trainer. I work as an independent contractor in the greater Richmond, Virginia area as a Spanish-English medical interpreter. Click here to read more about me.

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