Calls for Stories

Call for Stories from Those Who Interpret for Others in Healthcare

Symposium Editor: Gianna McMillan

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish a collection of personal stories from people who have served as interpreters in healthcare situations. Appropriate medical care relies on good communication between patients and their healthcare providers. Interpreters are frequently used in cases where providers and patients do not share a common language, for example, when there is a mismatch in spoken language, or one party is nonverbal, deaf, hard of hearing, or non-signing. Professional interpreters are trained in language, cultural traditions, interpersonal communication, and medical vocabulary. The services of these interpreters are frequently, but not always, offered as part of medical care, providing a crucial connection point between patient and healthcare professional for the accurate sharing of important information.

We seek stories from people who have served as interpreters in situations where patients and healthcare providers do not share a common language. We want true, personal stories in a form that is interesting and easy to read. Please share this invitation and guide sheet.

In writing your story, please consider these questions:

      • What surprises you about interpreting in healthcare?
      • Is there advice you would give those who want an interpreter? Is there advice for those who do not want an interpreter?
      • What do healthcare providers need to know about working with interpreters?
      • What training did you receive? How has the quality of your training impacted your ability to provide service?
      • Do you have suggestions for people interested in becoming professional interpreters?
      • What have you found challenging in your role? How has the experience affected you physically, emotionally, or economically?
      • What would you like people who develop policies and laws to know about the role of interpreters in medical practice?

You do not need to address each of these questions—write on the issues that you think are most important to share with others. If you are not a writer, tell your story in your own words and our editorial staff will help you.

If you are interested in submitting a story, we ask you first to submit a 300-word proposal—a short description of the story you want to tell. Inquiries or proposals should be sent to the editorial office via email: We will give preference to story proposals received by January 8, 2024. If your story is invited, we will ask you to submit it within 6 weeks of the invitation. Final stories are 4 – 10 double-spaced pages or 800 – 2000 words.

For more information about the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, the guidelines for authors, and privacy policies visit our webpage at

We plan to publish 12 stories on this topic in our print edition; additional stories may be published as online- only supplemental material. We also publish 3 – 4 commentary articles that discuss the stories that are published in the journal. To see a finished symposium, please visit Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics’ page on Project MUSE and click on the unlocked, open-access issue.

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics is indexed in PubMed, MEDLINE, Scopus, and PhilPapers.
The journal is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press and is available in print and electronically to over 1,200 institutional subscribers via Project MUSE.