Item Details

Issues for interpreters and professionals working in refugee settings

Issue: Vol 8 No. 3 (2011)

Journal: Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/japl.v8i3.253


Many countries around the world become recipient societies for refugees from a number of international ‘hotspots’. The current paper examines problems facing interpreters in refugee settings in both the New Zealand and Australian contexts. New Zealand receives 750 quota refugees each year, all of whom spend the first six weeks after arrival at the Refugee Resettlement Centre in Mangere, Auckland. Several studies have shown that inadequate communication between healthcare providers and patients with limited English not only limits their ability to access services but also affects the quality of the services received (Minas et al. 2001). In theory, this issue could be alleviated by the use of interpreters; however, the latter may not always find it easy to carry out their task, especially when interpreting in refugee settings. Research instruments in this study included an online survey for interpreters and separate focus discussion groups involving interpreters and professionals working with interpreters in refugee settings. Responses indicated that refugee mental health interpreting, in particular, often involves unexpected challenges for both interpreters and professionals, which may be difficult to address. An examination of issues is followed by recommendations for ways of addressing these issues.

Author: Ineke Crezee, Shirley Jülich, Maria Hayward

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