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Tag: language barriers

Truth in Translation

Editor’s Note: This piece tied for first place in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

I learned from my grandfather how to lie to doctors the same way that baby birds learn chirping: by mimicry.

“All healed,” I would translate for my grandfather at appointments. “I used to smoke, but not anymore.” “The pain is very faint.”

A good apprentice, I knew that he was lying, and I translated it anyway. I was eight years

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El Jugo Me Hizo Daño

February 2010:

I toss and turn in bed, trying to fall back asleep; I have only a small cushion of time between getting up and heading to the hospital. I’m a third-year medical student doing my medicine subinternship. I have the choice of going to work or staying in bed a little longer.

On the other side of town, Ms. Garcia doesn’t have much choice about heading to the hospital: She’s bleeding from her nose

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