KGH Interpretation Spanish-English Medical & Mental Health Interpretation

Inclusive Language Resources


Contents of this Page:

Webinars About Inclusive LanguageJump to Section
∟ Webinar 2: Interpreting Inclusive Language
∟ Webinar 1: Using Inclusive Language in Medical Interpretation
General Resources
Includes Spanish-language resources denoted by [EN]
Jump to Section
Resources by Subject
Includes Spanish-language resources denoted by [EN]
Jump to Section
∟ Gender & Sexual Diversity
∟ Identity-First Language vs. Person-First Language
∟ Plain Language
∟ Race, Ethnicity, Nationality, and Culture
∟ (Dis)Ability & Non-Ableist Language
∟ Age & Ageism


Webinar 2: Interpreting Inclusive Language

I was invited to present on interpreting inclusive language at the Innovation in Interpreting Summit, which took place from March 7-9, 2023. I answered some of the most commonly-asked questions about inclusive language such as:

  • Why do people use inclusive language?
  • How can I recognize when someone is choosing to express themselves inclusively?
  • How do I deliver accurate interpretations of inclusive language?

The replays of the Summit, as well as the workbook I produced for it, are available for purchase from their website as part of the “2023 Summit Replays” package. However, all of my Ko-Fi subscribers at the “Backer” level have access to both the presentation recording and my Interpreting Inclusive Language Workbook.

Webinar 1: Using Inclusive Language in Medical Interpretation

On June 24, 2022, I gave a free hour-long webinar entitled “Using Inclusive Language in Medical Interpretation,” in conjunction with This was the third installation of the monthly series sponsored by the Bureau of Rural Health & Primary Care, Division of Public Health, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Funding for this webinar was made possible by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Idaho Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities. The webinar was designed to be a basic introduction to inclusive language and what this means for interpreters, however medical and mental health care providers, as well as language access coordinators were welcome to attend.

📕 Click here for the PDF version of the slides from the presentation!

This page was initially designed to be an accompaniment to the webinar in conjunction with MD Translation, but I have since given additional webinars on inclusive language in which I also share this page. Resources will continue to be added!

General Resources

  • Conscious Style Guide
    A great collection of resources across nearly every imaginable category of inclusive language: (dis)ability, age, appearance, empowerment, ethnicity, race, nationality, gender, sex, sexuality, health, plain language, socioeconomic status, spirituality, religion, atheism, and more!
  • Guidelines for Inclusive Language – Linguistic Society of America
  • How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think? – Edge, by Lera Boroditsky
    I encourage attendees to adopt inclusive language, even when they’re not interpreting it, because our thinking shapes our language, and our language shapes our thinking. This article talks about the connection between the words we use and the way we think about things.
  • Let’s be Real: Inclusive Language Matters – Medium, by Neha Jain
  • [ES] MODII
    This is a Spanish-language website dedicated to inclusive language! They occasionally have free webinars, but also have a BUNCH of super useful resources. I absolutely love them. They’re so informative!!!

Appreciate These Free Resources?

I share and produce free resources for interpreters because I believe all interpreters should have the same opportunities for professional growth. At the end of the day, we’re all on the same team and our goal is to provide the highest quality of service to the marginalized populations we serve. If you’d like to support my mission, please consider contributing to my Ko-Fi!

Resources by Subject

Please note that these resources are listed in alphabetical order, not order of preference or importance.

Gender & Sexual Diversity

Identity-First Language (IFL) vs. Person-First (PFL)

  • [ES] Autistas de Twitter – A list on Twitter that I created of Spanish-language autistas.
  • Identity-First Language – Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)
    It is always important to consult with communities on how they refer to themselves, and ASAN is an organization for autistic people by autistic people (unlike organizations like Autism Speaks). This is a thorough article on why many autistic people prefer identity-first language. The end of the article lists sources from people who prefer IFL, those who prefer PFL, and people who use both interchangeably when speaking about autism.
  • Person-First and Destigmatizing Language – National Institutes of Health (NIH) Style Guide
    This source is excellent for interpreters and translators alike as it gives examples of potentially offensive terms that are NOT person-first along with their person-first equivalents. It offers many links to the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook’s relevant sections as well.
  • Person-First Language vs. Identity-First Language: An examination of the gains and drawbacks of Disability Language in society – Journal of Teaching Disability Studies, Phillip Ferrigon
  • Why Person-First Language Doesn’t Always Put the Person First – Think Inclusive, by Emily Ladau
    An article written by a disabled person about how “disability” isn’t a dirty word and her criticisms of person-first language.

Plain Language

  • 12 writing tools to make COVID-19 coverage comprehensible – Poynter, by Roy Peter Clark
    While this article’s intended audience is writers, this is actually a really great set of tips on how to use plain language. This would be very useful for a medical interpreter when switching to the clarifier role in terms of how to make things more clear, and potentially giving providers direction on doing so, if necessary.

Race, Ethnicity, Nationality, and Culture

Race, ethnicity, nationality, and culture is a HUGE topic! Most of the sources shared in this section are based on U.S. discourse, which in and of itself is not homogeneous. Sources are not divided up into subcategories because topics often overlap, but instead alphabetized much like the rest of this list.

  • Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Native Peoples – Native American Rights Fund (NARF)
    NARF is an organization that has provided legal assistance to Native American tribes, organizations, and individuals since 1970. It is based in Colorado and the organization is governed by a board of 13 Native Americans from different tribes. You’ll notice the language used on this page is different from the language used on the page listed below: How to Talk about Native Nations: A Guide.
  • BIPOC? Latinx? Here’s how to describe people accurately – NPR, by Jerome Socolovsky
    While this is written as a training guide for journalists, it gives many examples of “outsiders imposing names and ignoring the way communities refer to themselves collectively.” It also gives a list of five things you can do to make sound decisions about how to identify groups of people. Then, it gives many commonly-used acronyms within U.S. journalism for different racial, ethnic, and cultural groups.
  • How to Talk about Native Nations: A Guide – Native Governance Center
    The Native Governance Center is a Native-led nonprofit based in Minnesota, and these are their suggestions for how to talk about Native Nations. While this page is a written guide, it also has a link to the recording of the event this page is based on. You’ll notice the language used on this page is different from the language used on the page listed above: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Native Peoples.
  • Inclusive Language 101: Race & Ethnicity – The Nova Collective
    The Nova Collective is a women-owned BIPOC-led business that supports other businesses in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This is their page on using racially and ethnically inclusive language that also explains the difference between race and ethnicity. It offers some examples of how different groups self-refer and are referred to in the U.S.
  • Perpetuating Abolition in the Language We Use: Does ‘BIPOC’ Get the Job Done? – Reclamation Magazine, by Mika Alexander
    This article describes the emergence of the term BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and includes opinions from various people who would be considered to be included in this umbrella term.
  • OPINION | Latinx vs Latine – The Tulane Hullabaloo, by Doxey Kamara
    I felt that I needed to include an article on the use of the term Latinx and how it is by and large not accepted by native Spanish-speakers. Unfortunately, most articles that I found actively perpetuated erasure of nonbinary people, which flies in the face of the purpose of this page. This article strikes a good balance between explaining why there is rejection of the Latinx label among many Spanish-speakers, respecting nonbinary people, and exploring the other existing alternatives like Latine and Hispanic.
  • The inadequacy of the term “Asian American” – Vox – Asian American identity series, by Li Zhou
    This article covers the term Asian American, its alternatives, and weighs the opinions of people in the U.S. who may or may not feel erased by these terms.
  • Thirty Everyday Phrases that Perpetuate the Oppression of Indigenous Peoples – The Radical Copyeditor, by Alex Kapitan
    Having grown up in the U.S., many of the terms listed here are incredibly common. As an interpreter, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these phrases (many of which are idioms) so as not to add additional negative context to your interpretations.

(Dis)Ability & Non-Ableist Language

In addition to the resources listed below, many of the resources listed under “Identity-First Language (IFL) vs. Person-First Language (PFL)” also discuss disability.

  • Ableism 101 – Access Living, by Ashley Eisenmenger
    This page goes over what ableism is, what it looks like (including “everyday” or minor ableism), what are ableist micro-aggressions, and what we can do to recognize and avoid ableism.
  • Ableism: Language and Microaggressions – University of the Fraser Valley LibGuides
    This page includes examples of ableist words/phrases and their alternatives (excellent for interpreters to consider the full context of their renditions), ableist micro-agressions and their “translations,” as well as videos going over topics related to ableism.
  • Disabilities, Neurodiversity, and Chronic Illness – Language, Please style guidance
    A searchable glossary-like resource with entry on different topics related to disabilities, neurodiversity, and chronic illness. Each entry is hosted on another page and some are quite extensive, with a definition of the term, guidance on non-ableist language, additional resources, and links to related terms.
  • Disability Language Style Guide – The National Center on Disability and Journalism
    This comprehensive guide, available in Spanish, Italian, and Romanian, offers not only general guidance on writing about disability, but also guidance on terms listed in glossary format. While it is designed for journalists, each of these entries is incredibly useful to interpreters to help us to understand the full context of each term, both intended and otherwise.
  • Glossary of Ableist Phrases – By Lydia X. Z. Brown
    This is a pretty comprehensive list of terms that, to varying degrees, are ableist, for reference purposes. Each entry generally has a definition, why it is considered ableist, and to what degree the term may be considered offensive.
  • People With ‘Invisible Disabilities’ Fight For Understanding – NPR, by Naomi Gingold
    As someone who could easily fit into this category, I felt it was necessary to include something on invisible disabilities. Ableism can also take the form of erasure. People with chronic conditions may “pass” as being able-bodied, resulting in a lack of acknowledgement of their condition(s) and even discrimination.
  • The Harmful Ableist Language You Unknowingly Use – BBC Worklife, Equality Matters, by Sara Nović
    I really like this article because the author, who is deaf, explains how the term “deaf” initially evokes a sense of pride for them, but that the use of the term in contexts that evoke a negative connotation is hurtful. Using this example as a jumping-off point, the author explains the phenomenon known as ableism, and how it creates “an oppressive environment” for us all.
  • Why You Need to Stop Using These Words and Phrases – Harvard Business Review, by Rakshitha Arni Ravishankar
    The journalist who wrote this piece reached out to several disability rights advocates for their insights on ableism. Each heading is a takeaway the author has, and each numbered subheading is a supporting point. It also contains tips for readers.

Age & Ageism

  • Adults Just Don’t Understand: Checking Out Our Everyday Adultism – Everyday Feminism, by Kel Kray
    This is a very comprehensive article that defines adultism (a type of ageism). It also goes over some examples of words and phrases that are adultist and why they are problematic.
  • Age-inclusive language: Are you using it in your writing and everyday speech? – Washington University in St. Louis, Harvey A Friedman Center for Aging
    This article is a rundown of what various style guides outline as best practices when writing about older adults.
  • Ageing: Ageism (Q&A) – The World Health Organization
    This page is short, sweet, and to-the-point. It answers a few common questions about ageism and provides no-nonsense, concise definitions.
  • Eliminate ageism and age discrimination, says UN expert – United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner
    This article explains what ageism is, how ageism is a global issue, and its negative effects on older persons.
  • [ES] Juventudes – MODII
    This page has a list of terms related to young people (in Spanish, but you can quickly swap to English at the top). I wanted to include this page because 1) it’s an excellent Spanish resource and 2) ageism is often thought of in terms of being discriminatory towards older people, not younger people.

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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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