Interpreting for Forced Migrants in Health Care: Interpreters’ Training through Patients` Perceptions in Russia

Larisa Lutskovskaya, Ekaterina V. Zvereva, Elena P. Kalashnikova


The paper provides preliminary study in the field of provision of interpreting services in various health care settings including medical institutions and border-cross points for people with limited official language proficiency in Russia through the prism of linguacultural mediation. Special emphasis is laid on possible barriers in interpreter-mediated communication in health care domain. The research aims to explore target audiences’ perceptions regarding the extent to which the interpreters’ instruction curriculum meets professional challenges that interpreters might face while working for migrants and refugees in healthcare settings. The research methodology applies qualitative and quantitative methods as well as methods of cluster and factor analysis. The research also features an empirical experiment involving interviews with foreign patients of a Russian hospital, forced migrants living in Russia under status of temporary asylum, and graduate students doing their master degree program “Interpreter and Translator for Public Services and Institutions” in Russia. The research findings obtained through surveys of target audiences suggest that linguistic and interpreting competences alone are not sufficient enough to ensure effective interpreter assisted communication in health care setting. Besides knowledge of field related terminology, health care interpreter has to act as lingua cultural mediator, bridging the cultural gaps between the communicants both in medical institutions and border-crossing points. The present article has both theoretical and practical value as its findings can be used in determining the content and structure of master degree courses on interpreting and translation in health care settings.


public service interpreting, health care setting, linguistic and cultural mediation, forced migration

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