International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Core Competencies for Healthcare Interpreters
Dina Refki, Maria Paz Avery, Angela Dalton

Linguistic barriers lead to denial of needed benefits and services, client misunderstanding of treatment, receipt of the wrong benefits or services, significant delays in treatment, misdiagnosis, clients’ poor decision making, ethical compromises (e.g. difficulty obtaining informed consent, medical errors and clients not being given all available options of care), and rise in the cost of medical care. The encounter between Limited English Proficient patients and healthcare providers need to be mediated by a trained linguistic broker. To pave the way for setting uniform standards for healthcare interpreters, this paper developed a list of core competencies that are critical to every beginner interpreter. The development of a preliminary list of core competencies was informed by an extensive consultation of literature, a review of healthcare interpreter training curricula, and solicitation of the perspectives of curricular developers, interpreters, policy makers, administrators and providers. The investigators developed two survey instruments with both close-ended and open-ended questions to examine the attitudinal and perceptual consensus and difference between two cohorts of respondents: healthcare interpreter trainers/curriculum developers, and practicing interpreters/interpreters-in-training, regarding the core competencies essential to a high quality healthcare interpreting training. Telephone and in-person follow-up interviews were conducted with trainers and interpreters to gather additional insights.

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