This resource is for service providers who are engaging with interpreters in transcultural situations.
In transcultural encounters, communication demands can be particularly complex. Within a mental health care setting, consumers, carers and practitioners are required to comprehend and express difficult and often subtle meanings concerned with emotional experience and interpersonal relationships. Gaining accurate exchange of information and transmission of meaning through interpreting is important for avoiding risks and necessary to create meaningful encounters.
Working with professional interpreters:
enhances accurate assessment
ensures accurate risk assessment
enables consumers and their carers’ and families to discuss personal information and their psychological wellbeing
ensures an accurate understanding of the consumer’s needs and concerns
optimises involvement of the consumer and family in their own care
reduces social isolation.
Navigating this resource
This resource has three sections. Navigate the sections by selecting the headings above or use the links below.
OVERVIEW: Orientate yourself to policy requirements. Consider the role of the interpreter, and explore ways for facilitating access to interpreting services.
PRACTICE: Explore and reflect on approaches and considerations when engaging with interpreters including, practitioner concerns, organisational responses and, strategies to support consumer engagement with interpreters.
STEPS: Watch an example of the process of engaging in an interpreted encounter. Identify strategies for engaging in the process, from assessing the need for an interpreter, through to preparing for the encounter, to debriefing.
This resource is based on, and uses some of the Working Effectively with Interpreters in Mental Health Settings resource developed by VTPU in 2006. It has been reviewed and updated by the VTMH team.
A note about videos
Some videos used in this resource are drawn from the Working Effectively with Interpreters in Mental Health Settings resource, developed by VTPU in 2006. VTMH is aware that there have since been significant practice developments in mental health. These videos demonstrate an introduction to key processes and considerations when working with interpreters. Some of the language used may not be reflective of contemporary mental health discourses.
Images Mark Wingrave
I created these images from various alphabets and linear elements of English letters. They include non Roman alphabets (Arabic, Chinese, Georgian) and accented Roman alphabets (Vietnamese, Turkish). Together the images evoke an overlapping dialogue.
Mental Health Act 2014. Victoria. Australia.
Commonwealth of Australia. (2013). A national framework for recovery-oriented mental health services: Guide for practitioners and providers. Australia: Commonwealth of Australia. (ISBN: 978-74186-010-8).
Foundation House. (2012). Exploring Barriers and Facilitators to the Use of Qualified Interpreters in VPLLHealth. Melbourne: Foundation House.
Leanza Y., Miklavcic A., Boivin, I., and Rosenberg E. (2013). Working with Interpreters. In L.J. Kirmayer, C. Rousseau, and J. Guzder (Eds), Cultural Consultation: Encountering the Other in Mental Health Care. New York, NY: Springer SBM. pg. 89-114.
State Government of Victoria. (2014). Using Interpreting Services: Victorian Government Guidelines on Policy and Procedures. Victoria: Government of Victoria.