By | April 28, 2019




In this scene there will be a translator facilitating a healthcare interaction. The patient speaks a non-existent gibberish language.


Healthcare translation is a handle over layed on an open scene that has a predetermined concept. Typically the patient will speak the gibberish language. However the health care worker could speak gibberish (as they already do). This handle differs from typical translation scenes in that the translation is being done for another performer and the audience is observing. Translated opera, film and poem translate for the audience.

It is recommended that the host set up a non-existant language. This can be done by having the gibberish performers speak robot, economist, whale or toaster. Of course the host and performers can do what ever works for their house. Speaking in gibberish for existing languages can lead to using stereotypes for humour. This is the kind of short cut for laughs that leads to punching down. Take a look at the handle Gibberish for more info.

The performers must endeavor to create complete characters with movement and wants in addition to the gibberish. The performers are responsible for creating a scene with narrative arc that explores all the elements of the trope meeting the MD, RN, CNA, PA, EMT etc. Often we let the gimmick of translation short circuit our dedication to the narrative arc.


  • Short translation for a long gibberish. Or vice versa.
  • Problems with idioms leading to patient translator discussion
  • Differences in emotional content.
  • Dirty words are always funny.


  • Translated Opera – As described with singing the gibberish.
  • Translated Film – As described using movie thematics.
  • Bad Translator – Real language translated by non-speaker
  • Mechanical Translator – Real language using Google translate.
  • Future In Laws – Meet the parents. Meet the new in law.


  • Used this in a Family Medicine related event in 1994. Likely as old as the hills.