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Medical Dramas & Medical Interpreting–––Grey’s Anatomy

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

Grey's Anatomy is a medical drama, which was first aired in 2005 in the United States by American Broadcasting Company (ABC). The first season introduces the main character, Meredith Grey, who enrolled in Seattle Grace Hospital's internship program and faced unexpected challenges and surprises. The drama does not only focus on surgeons with different specialisations, but also shows the relationship between doctors and patients, the dilemmas and conflicts they face.

In episode two of the first season, intern Izzy met a female patient who did not speak English and does not let the doctor sew up her wounds. She kept explaining in Cantonese that she has a daughter who was also injured but could not get into the hospital because she was an illegal immigrant. However, the hospital did not have a medical interpreter, so the doctor was unable to understand her needs.

As a matter of fact, lacking qualified medical interpreters becomes an increasing issue in the medical setting. According to the US Census Bureau, around 25 million Americans have limited English proficiency, most of them are immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers. Non-English speakers or those with limited English proficiency avoid seeking medical treatment, as they are unable to communicate with healthcare providers.

If you get a job as a medical interpreter, especially in a foreign hospital, you should explain clearly to your colleagues your language pairs. Most foreigners will assume that one is Chinese when they see a person with black hair and yellow skin. They also think that Chinese must be Mandarin. They do not realize that besides Mandarin, Chinese also refers to different dilects, such as Cantonese, Teochew, etc. In the episode, Izzy met the female patient who spoke Cantonese, and asked if anyone could speak Chinese. However, she did not realize it was Cantonese. When no one responded to her, she approached another intern with yellow skin and black hair, Cristina. Izzy thought Cristina could speak Chinese, but it turned out that she could only understand the menu of the Chinese restaurant. Cristina herself was an immigrant from Korea and could not speak Chinese at all. Therefore, if you have the opportunity to work as an interpreter in a foreign hospital, you must explain it to them so that you would not make a joke.


Acidosis 酸中毒

Anoxia 缺氧

Chronic renal failure 慢性腎衰竭

Code Blue 急症

Flatline 平線

Lorazeoam 樂耐平(抗焦慮藥物)

Milligrams 毫克

Phenibarbital 苯巴比妥(治療癲癎發作)

Sinus rhythm 竇律

Seizure disorder 癲癎性發作

Ventricular Fibrillation (V-fib) 心室顫動

Prepared by:

Chan Ka Yin Christy

Lo Man man Anita

Cho Mak Irene

Ho Dong Qing Michelle

Edited by:

Dr. Janice Pan


Translating Justice. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2021, from

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