A Marriage of Necessity, What Gets Lost in the Translation?: Working With Interpreters in both Spoken And Signed Languages if not Affection
Roger C. Williams, LMSW, CT Director, Deaf Services, SCDMH email@example.com (803) 898-8301
Objectives • Define the interpreter’s role in the therapeutic setting • Be familiar with an interpreter’s ethical obligations and professional responsibilities. • Identify what modifications have to be made to ensure the interpreted assignment is conducted in the most effective manner possible
The Therapeutic Triad The Therapeutic Dyad
Going from the Dyad to the Triad • Provision of health care by necessity must occur in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidentiality • The dyadic relationship is the norm and is the way clinicians are trained • Moving to a triadic relationship is difficult for the clinician as it goes against this training • The triadic relationship is difficult for the client as another person (possibly from the same community) potentially has access to their inner secrets On-site Mental Health Interpreter workshop presentation website.ppt. (2006): Multicutlural Mental Health Australia.
Clinician’s Response • Panic • Diagnostic Blinders • Fascination • Working Relationship
Why do we need interpreters? • Good clinical practice • More effective use of time • It’s the law • ADA • Title VI of Civil Rights Act • SCDMH Directive 839-03
When do we need interpreters? • Intake • Initial evaluation • Designated Examinations • Treatment Interventions • Treatment Planning • Medical/psychiatric assessments • Counseling sessions
What is an interpreter? • Only experts in the target and source language • Interpreters, while knowledgeable in language and cross-cultural relationships are not experts in either mental health or the culture of the consumer • Different from a communicator • Not a family member or friend
3 criteria for equivalence • Therapeutic equivalence • Information • Perspective • If equivalent in these three areas, then the meta-message is equivalent, not word for word Bot, H. (2005). Dialogue Interpreting in Mental Health. Amsterdam/New York, NY: Rodopi.
Working with an interpreter • When making the appointment • Pre-session • During the session • Post-session
When making the appointment • Consumer’s language, be specific as possible • (i.e., not Spanish, but Colombian Spanish) • Family’s language (if applicable) • Racial/ethnic background • General diagnostic information • Educational background, if known • Purpose of appointment (assessment, ongoing counseling, etc) • Gender preference, if clinically significant • Logistical information (location, contact person, security requirements, etc)
Pre-session • Purpose of the appointment • Who will be present • Cultural “landmines” or “tips” (knowing these may not apply to this specific client) • Specific vocabulary or concepts, especially those with a meaning unique to the clinical setting (e.g. mindfulness, black out) • Potential safety or security concerns • Procedures to clarify and/or interrupt the process, if needed
During the session • Introduce the interpreter and explain their role • Speak directly to the consumer, not the interpreter • Use short sentences • Give the interpreter enough time to interpret, depending on whether you are using a simultaneous or consecutive mode • Ask consumer for feedback to demonstrate understanding • Avoid idiomatic expressions, jargon and sarcasm • Give consumer instructions and/or information in writing if appropriate
Post-session • Discuss how the session went • Identify both problems and solutions • Clarify any confusion or ambiguity of meaning • Do not expect the interpreter to provide you with a mental health opinion • Do expect the interpreter to provide you with information about language usage, dysfluency or problems • Provide defusing if appropriate • Arrange for follow-up if appropriate • Feedback to the interpreter agency, if appropriate
Try It, You’ll Like It Working with an interpreter is both a challenge and an opportunity. If you are flexible, creative and open, you can gain new perspectives on not only your consumer and their linguistic community, but yourself and your other consumers
Communication “Marriage demands that partners communicate their thoughts and feeling to one another and the first of the major problem areas for intercultural marriage is that of communication.” Markoff, Richard. 1977. “Intercultural Marriage: Problem Areas.” In Adjustment in Intercultural Marriage. ed. Wen-Shing Tseng, John F. McDermott, Jr., Thomas W. Maretzki. Honolulu, Hawaii: The University Press of Hawaii.