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Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative
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David Kissane, Barry Bultz, Phyllis Butow, and Ilora Finlay

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199238361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.001.0001

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Working with interpreters and achieving culturally competent communication

Working with interpreters and achieving culturally competent communication

Chapter:
(p.361) Chapter 31 Working with interpreters and achieving culturally competent communication
Source:
Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care
Author(s):

Steven Klimidis

Harry Minas

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.003.0031

Healthcare around the world is currently experimenting with the development of culturally and linguistically competent workforces and systems of care. Fundamental to this enterprise is redressing the problems of language and cultural barriers between the community and service providers. Evidence shows that interpreted interviews return improvements in the clinical encounter and patient outcomes over non-interpreted interviews, especially when professional (rather than untrained) interpreters are engaged. There is a need for greater appreciation among clinicians of the complexity and difficulty of the communicative task in patient-clinician communication, particularly when patients and clinicians do not share a common language and must rely on the assistance of an interpreter. Cultural differences between clinicians and patients add to the difficulty of achieving effective communication. The common practice of relying on untrained interpreters is not acceptable and frequently leads to avoidable error in communication, with sometimes serious clinical consequences. There is a need also for clinicians to learn the methods that are required for working effectively with an interpreter.

Keywords:   interpreting, interpreters, language, cultural barriers, communication, cultural differences, clinicians, patients, interviews

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