The following points look at some concerns that practitioners might have regarding working with interpreters, and some ways the organizations can respond.
Lacking confidence in working with interpreters
>All practitioners should be provided with training and ongoing support in working with interpreters
Misunderstanding why an interpreter is needed
>Through training misunderstandings can be addressed
Concern about being observed / judged / having a third person in the room
>Through increased understanding of roles, and working in partnership, these concerns can be addressed
Where the consumer has requested a family member / friend to interpret
> The practitioner can ask questions and provide information to the consumer or carer. This is explored more in the Activity below.
Juan is a new to working in mental health. He is committed to providing a culturally inclusive service to all clients. Samah has dropped into the service for the first time with her sister who appears to have a high level of spoken, and comprehension of, English. Juan is assessing which language Samah requires in order to work with him. Samah says “ No, my sister will help”
Some questions to ask Samah and some information to allay her concerns.
Ask if she has worked with an interpreter before.
If so, what was her experience of this?
What concerns does she have about working with an interpreter?
Explain confidentiality clearly.
If she is unhappy with the face to face interpreter, would she consider using a phone interpreter to preserve anonymity?
Would she feel more comfortable with an interpreter from a different country from hers who speaks her language?
Explore alternative reasons why Samah may want her sister involved.