Title

The advocacy controversy in medical interpreting : different views on the professional role of interpreters

Publication Date

1-1-2004

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Sora Friedman

Abstract

This research paper explores the roles of a Medical Interpreter, including advocacy on behalf of the patient. The main research question is: What are interpreters' beliefs about advocacy practices in the field? Sub-questions include: How do people in the interpreter field define advocacy? How do interpreters and other language professionals feel about interpreters being a source of information, such as in the advocacy role? To what extent, if any, is this an acceptable practice? A questionnaire was administered to Medical Interpreters from several hospitals in Massachusetts. As part of the research process, additional professionals were consulted that are actively involved in the Medical Interpreter field. Medical Interpreters and other professionals were somewhat divided on whether they saw advocacy as part of the interpreter role. Interpreters experienced different degrees of institutional support for advocacy. Managers identified a lack of clear guidelines on what constitutes skillful and unskillful advocacy. The findings showed that most interpreters find it acceptable to advocate and are advocating, on day to day issues like extending free care to patients and mediating scheduling problems. Interpreters were active as cultural brokers involved in transcultural health education. They offered examples of cultural misunderstandings witnessed within the medical system. Interpreters identified the importance of maintaining patient confidentiality and consent. Interviews with managers and interpreter trainers revealed concerns about advocacy, the skill involved, time constraints and the need for clear guidelines to protect patient confidentiality and consent.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

 
COinS