If you are experiencing any problems within your appointment you should consider the following:
- Is the interpreter fluent or competent enough in English?
- Is the interpreter familiar with the patient’s language, dialect or style of language use?
- Is your language coherent enough for the interpreter to understand?
- Is the interpreter acceptable to the patient, for example consider if the following are compatible:
- Political view point
- Is there a communication barrier between the interpreter and the patient i.e. is the conversation cold or patronising, what can you tell from the tone?
- How is your relationship with the interpreter, do they feel they can interrupt you if they need clarification?
- Is the interpreter putting forward their own views and opinions?
- Does the interpreter understand their job role?
- Is the subject being discussed likely to cause the interpreter to be embarrassed or feel uncomfortable?
- Are you asking too much of the interpreter?
- Are you allowing the interpreter enough time to interpret?
- Is there more than one person speaking at once making it difficult for the interpreter to follow conversation?
- Are you addressing the interpreter rather than the patient?
- Does the interpreter or patient need a break or an opportunity to make you aware of something?
By assessing all these points you will be able to determine where your appointment is going wrong and how you can then correct it. You can use this experience for future reference to ensure you gain the best results from your interpreter. By being aware of how you are conducting the session, this can lead to a difference in the results you see.
A good tool to use to test your own professional conduct is to imagine that you were the interpreter for this booking. Ask yourself if you would be happy with the way the professional was handling your services, including the pace of the session, terminology used and inclusiveness of both parties etc.