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Making James Translate

(from James Nelson Gingerich)

James picked up Spanish on the job. Even after years of learning, speaking in Spanish isn’t easy for him. To illustrate, James tells the story of a woman we’ll call Rosa.

Rosa first came to Maple City Health Care Center in the early days when James' Spanish was becoming good enough that he didn’t need a translator. Even though it was a challenge, James managed to communicate well enough with Rosa that, working as a team, they delivered Rosa's first child.

Rosa brought the child to the Center for regular care. James and Rosa struggled to communicate about breast feeding, immunizations, physical exams, and all the minor medical emergencies that are part of a child’s early years.

In spite of the difficulties of language, Rosa trusted James to deliver and care for two more children.

Six years after Rosa’s first appointment at the Center, she brought a friend of hers to the office. Rosa helped her friend fill out the necessary forms as the pair waited to see James.

A nurse escorted the pair back to one of the patient’s rooms. As the two women walked down the hall, James turned a corner just in time to hear Rosa explain to her friend, in flawless English, “Don’t worry. His Spanish isn’t great, but he tries hard and if you can’t understand him, just get him to repeat.”

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