or Certified Interpreters. The use of professionally
trained interpreters is considered best practice and can improve
of care to patients with limited English proficiency (Jacobs et
al., 2001; Lears & Abbott, 2005; Rhodes, 2000; Oquendo, 1996).
certification for medical interpreters is still not available,
standards for quality medical interpretation have
been developed in California by the California Healthcare Interpreters
Association (CHIA) http://www.chia.ws,
and in Massachusetts by the Massachusetts Medical Interpreters
Association (MMIA) http://www.mmia.org.
Further, an assessment guide has been developed by the National
on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC) http://www.ncihc.org recommending
that interpreters be assessed in the following areas:
- Basic language
skills in the two languages,
- Ethics and
ethical decision making,
- Cultural issues,
- Health care
interpreting skills, and
- Written translation
of simple instructions.
a national organization for health care interpreters, lists on
its Web site
18 state associations for health care interpreters. Many of these
state organizations offer training sessions, instructional
meetings, and yearly conferences. Health care organizations interested
in improving the language proficiency and interpreter skills
bilingual and multilingual interpreting workforce can encourage
and financially support their personnel to participate in these
organizations where available.
above, Hablamos Juntos is providing leadership in the development
of promising and evidence-based practices
the field of language access, including interpretation. It
resources and strategies for health care organizations seeking
to design, maintain, or enhance their interpretation services
interpreter banks can be the most cost-effective way to provide
a wide range of languages to a community,
costs among partners, participants, or customers. An interpreter
bank can take a variety of forms, including but not limited
to: an accessible database of interpreters for a community;
organization that provides the interpreters as needed;
or a pool of interpreters shared by community hospitals, clinics,
organizations with similar language access needs. For examples
of such cooperative programs, see the following:
Kentucky created an Office of International Affairs to serve
as a clearinghouse of information and services
to immigrants, refugees, foreign students, and all international visitors.
This Office runs a community language bank. See http://www.louky.org/fp/oica/bank.asp
opportunities are available for interpreters through organizations
One example is
Cross Cultural Health Care, which offers medical
interpretation training and
other key resources at http://www.xculture.org/training/index.html.
link directly to the well-known training program “Bridging
the Gap,” see http://www.xculture.org/training/overview/interpreter/programs.html.
also widely used publications such as: Language Barriers
in Health Care Settings,
the State of California, and How
to Choose a Language Agency, funded
by The California Endowment (see http://www.calendow.org,
Publications section, Cultural Competency
category); Providing Language
Interpretation Services in Health Care Settings:
Examples from the Field, funded
by The Commonwealth Fund, see http://www.cmwf.org.