E. Zvereva, K. Chilingaryan

This paper aims at investigating provisions of interpreting and translation services in the health care settings for people with limited official language command. Special emphasis is laid on possible cultural and language barriers in interpreter-mediated communication this domain. The research aims at identifying interpreter’s competencies relevant for enhancing the effectiveness of in-hospital or out-hospital doctor-patient communication via thorough study of the existing practices to ensure access to health care services for people with no or very little command of the host country’s official language.

The research methodology applies both qualitative and quantitative methods. The authors also have used methods of empirical experiment and some statistics. The experiment involved Master degree program students doing “Interpreter and Translator for Public Services and Institutions”. To make the statistics and collected data more reliable, in the course of the experiment students were directly involved into interpreting practice for people with limited official language proficiency. The research findings make the authors believe that linguistic and interpreting competences alone are not sufficient enough to guarantee effective interpreter assisted communication. This brings the authors to a consideration that knowledge of field terminology needs to be used along with the given fact, that medical interpreter has to act as lingua cultural mediator, to master communication skills, be able to integrate and work in a team, remaining at the same time within the boundaries of the professional role. Some drawbacks were also revealed: part of the Masters did not show much interest in the profession.

This was explained either by low prestige or doctors’ treating the interpreters as the inferior. The authors assume the present article may have both theoretical and practical value as its findings can be used in determining the content and structure of Master’s degree courses in health care settings.