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The Human Body for Medical Interpreters*
Seminar on Body Systems and Introduction to Medical Terminology

This 12-hour program presents a survey of the human body in health and in disease. The program introduces basic medical terminology concepts to participants so that they may continue to learn at their pace and on their own.

Anatomy and physiology are two of the basic areas of vocabulary development that are important to medical interpreters. Healthcare providers usually refer to anatomy, and sometimes it is difficult for the interpreter to point if s/he does not know the right term or context. A familiarity with the common medical conditions can help the interpreter do a better job of interpreting clearly and accurately what the doctor says.

Learning Objectives

  • To review basic anatomy, basic physiology or how the different organs function (in English)
  • To discuss some of the more common medical conditions interpreters should know about
  • To introduce certain common medical procedures and give participants an idea of where to go to learn more.
  • To accustom participants to looking up information about procedures so that they may continue learning on their own

Here’s a suggested partial list of systems to be covered, including conditions that may affect them:

  • Digestive: hernia, gallstones, hepatitis, ulcers, polyps, gastroesophageal reflux, hemorrhoids
  • Respiratory: bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, asthma, tuberculosis
  • Cardiac/Circulatory: coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, hypertension, heart attack, aneurysm, embolism
  • Male reproductive: prostate cancer, STDs
  • Female reproductive: cervical cancer, yeast infection, cysts, ectopic pregnancy
  • Endocrine: diabetes, hyperthyroidism
  • Optical: Glaucoma, cataracts, blindness, macular degeneration, myopia

* A 4-hour basic version is included as part of "The Essential Piece" comprehensive interpreter training program.





Course Materials



The Human Body edited by Charles Clayman, MD
An illustrated guide to the body's structure, function, and disorders. 240 pages.