Ethics in the practice of interpreting in public services is a topic often discussed among professionals and academics, especially when referred to interpreting in healthcare settings. But the importance of ethics in medical or healthcare interpreting are not always easy to explain to practitioners and service users. Is it better to communicate through a family member? What should we expect from a professional interpreter?
The project Ethical interpreting in health care settings was born to help clarify these issues. It was recently carried out in Scotland by the School of Education and the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow, the School of Health at Glasgow Caledonian University and BEMIS (a non-HE third sector partner) and thanks to the funding of the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Scottish Funding Council and the British Council. The objectives of this research project were to use drama as a pedagogical tool in order to develop effective intercultural training and guidance for health care practitioners, interpreters and interpreting service users in health care settings, as well as to foster the exchange of research findings in the fields of interpreting, translation and intercultural communication, with a view to supporting multilingual and migrant groups who are at risk from a linguistic point of view.
The project was carried out in three different stages. The first stage involved the performance of a literature review on the issues connected to ethics, T&I and healthcare. The second phase focused on performing 19 qualitative interviews with health care practitioners, interpreters and migrants. Finally, the third stage involved the development and production of five short educational films. These films, available in several video formats and free to use by any interested stakeholder, portray different issues affecting healthcare interpreting in general, and ethics in medical interpreting in particular. The Ethical interpreting in health care settings project website also offers learning materials and supporting documents on how to use the videos, together with a repository of useful material and links. The full description of the project activities can be found in the project report as well as in this presentation video.
The Ethical interpreting in health care settings project contributes to the field of medical/health care interpreting but also to the field of ethics in public service interpreting, where issues connected to conflicts of interest or codes of professional practice are often discussed. For this reason, some professional associations and academic institutions have developed standards of practice or guidelines both for interpreters and for service-providers from the healthcare sector. Some renowned examples are:
- The CHIA (California Healthcare Interpreting Association) Standards (US)
- The IMIA (International Medical Interpreters Association) Standards of Practice (US)
- The NCIHC (National Council on Interpreting in Health Care) National Standards of Practice for Interpreters in Healthcare (US)
- Guidelines for interpreters from the Speak Out for Support (SOS-VICS) project on how to interpret in healthcare settings within the field of gender-based violence (Spain)
Written by Doris Fernandes del Pozo – Journalist, Translator-Interpreter and Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. She is pursuing a PhD as part of the Communication and Contemporary Information Programme of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).
- Ethical interpreting in health care settings (2014) End of Project Report. Available at: http://bit.ly/2nESYB1 (Accessed: 15 March, 2017)
- Queensland Health Interpreter Service (2007) Working with Interpreters Guidelines. Available at: http://bit.ly/2najkhK (Accessed: 15 March, 2017)
- Speak Out for Support (SOS-VICS) (2014) Código deontológico. Available at: http://sosvics.eintegra.es/codigo-deontologico (Accessed: 15 March, 2017)
- Borja Albi, A. and Del Pozo Triviño, M. (eds.) (2015) La comunicación mediada por intérpretes en contextos de violencia de género. Guía de buenas prácticas para trabajar con interpretes. Valencia, Tirant Lo Blanch. Available at: http://bit.ly/2mscAYg (Accessed: 15 March, 2017)
- Toledano Buendía, C. and Del Pozo Triviño, M. (eds.) (2015) Interpretación en contextos de violencia de género. Valencia, Tirant Lo Blanch. Available at: http://bit.ly/2m0qhlT (Accessed: 15 March, 2017)