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Language services

Health care interpreting: A literature review

Maurice Eisenbruch, Ilse Blignault; Nadia Arrage, Daniel Berthoud, Lee Lin Boo (NSW Health Care Interpreter Service; Carmine Di Campli and Michael Kakakios (NSW Health) and Sean Leneghan

A literature review, drawing on both published and unpublished material, was completed covering the following topics: benefits of using an interpreter in health settings; when and where interpreters are used; interpreting methods; training, codes of practice and protocols; barriers to using interpreters; organisational considerations; and the role of bilingual health professionals.

Impact of health care interpreters in the Emergency Department

Ilse Blignault, Maurice Eisenbruch, Maria Stephanou, Tim Luckett,  NSW Health, NSW Health Care Interpreter Service, Area Health Services, and the Diversity Health Institute

This project is a collaborative study involving six sites across Sydney and eight community languages (Arabic, Assyrian, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), English, Greek, Korean Turkish and Vietnamese). Key research questions are:

  • What is the perceived need for a professional interpreter among non-English speaking background patients presenting to the Emergency Department (ED), and among staff of the ED?
  • What is the impact of using a professional interpreter on patients’ subjective and objective knowledge of their diagnosis and treatment and on patient satisfaction?
  • What are the barriers to using a professional interpreter among health care providers and patients in the ED?

 The pilot study has been completed (a total of 41 patient interviews and 33 staff interviews).

Translated health information

Ilse Blignault, Maurice Eisenbruch, Alison Short and Tami Ebner

This collaborative, qualitative study was designed to assess the need for translated information, particularly health services information, among the three main language groups attending the St Vincent’s Hospital and Sydney Hospital/Sydney Eye Hospital—Chinese, Russian, and Greek speakers—and to identify the preferred media for such information.

Printed material, community radio and community newspapers were identified as the preferred media in the three communities. There was also some interest in audiotapes and videotapes. The GP informant suggested an updated CD-ROM. The Internet was seen as a useful resource for young people—those who were newly arrived and seeking information for themselves as well as children of migrants seeking information for their parents. Simply producing the information is not enough; it must be widely disseminated and easy for others to access when needed. A range of strategies should be employed, and the primary care and community sectors should be actively involved.