The following points look at some concerns that consumers and carers might have regarding working with interpreters, and some ways practitioners can respond.
Misunderstanding why an interpreter is needed
>Explain clearly the role of the interpreter, including confidentiality
Concerns about confidentiality: the consumer or family is concerned that the interpreter will speak to others in the person’s community or that they will be identified
>Explain, if possible, through use of a telephone interpreter that interpreters are professionally bound to maintain confidentiality and explain clearly what this means, as confidentiality may be a new concept for some. You can ask the consumer if they would prefer to be called by another name to conceal their identity from the interpreter
Concerns about knowing the interpreter: the interpreter is well known to the person or their family or community; and the interpreter and the consumer of their family have an informal connection
> Explore if the client would be comfortable working with a telephone interpreter due to a greater chance of anonymity.
Concerns due to stigma: the person doesn’t want others to know that they are using a mental health service
> Reiterate confidentiality, explore if the consumer may be more comfortable working with a telephone interpreter
Assuming there is an additional cost for interpreting
>Explain that the consumer does not have to pay for the interpreter
Discomfort regarding gender of interpreter
> Ensure to take note of the consumer’s preferred gender before the meeting and respect the decision.
Past negative experience with an interpreter
> Discuss the past negative experience, validate the consumer and assure them that if they have any concerns in your service they will be heard. Discuss grievance procedures.
Embarrassment about level of English proficiency
> Let the consumer know that the interpreter will assist you in doing your job better.
Your agency has a policy that states you must use an interpreter in order to do this.