Communication in any relationship is of paramount importance, and an interpreter can contribute to accurate and effective transcultural communication.
The interpreter's role is to communicate the same meaning in the second language and can sometimes expand to include conveying cultural norms and values.In mental health settings, best practice guidelines advise service providers to work with a qualified interpreter. However, in an effort to provide person centered care, it is recommended that service providers exercise clinical judgment to offer flexible arrangements when necessary. For example, in some situations family members may serve as interpreter if they are the only available option.
No matter the role they take on, it is important to remember that the interpreter is an integral member of the professional team as they provide valuable information and actively contribute to the care that is given to consumers. Consequently, it is best to adjust our language to say that we work with interpreters – not that we use them.