Towards the development of best practices for the training of community interpreters in health care settings

Begin - Einde 
2014 - 2020 (lopend)
Vakgroep Vertalen, Tolken en Communicatie
Qualitative research



As previous studies have shown, in order to overcome the language barriers and enable the communication between general practitioners and migrant patients, the employment of professional community interpreters in the public service sector is essential. This is why there is a clear and urgent need for trained and competent community interpreters, which links up with the ultimate goal of my PhD research project: the development of best practices for the training of community interpreters in healthcare, in a bid to contribute to the expansion and development of the currently available training for community interpreters and general practitioners.


With this PhD research project, I will try to provide an answer to the following research questions 1) How do trainee doctors experience the presence of a trainee interpreter and what do they expect from them? 2) How do trainee doctors, trainee interpreters and trainers from both fields perceive and describe the role/function of the interpreter? 3) How do all the stakeholders involved perceive the interactional and communicative expectations, perceptions and goals of trainee doctors and trainee interpreters? 4) To what extent do the currently available training programmes for doctors and interpreters satisfy the needs for the workplace practice?


This PhD research project arose from the repeatedly stated need for a research-based revision and reorganization of the existing training curricula (for general practitioners and community interpreters), together with the launch of joint training sessions within the framework of developing intercultural communication skills in healthcare settings, involving trainee general practitioners and trainee interpreters. One of the reasons for this demand is the established fact that not only interpreters, but also general practitioners could use some training in order to familiarize themselves with the interpreting process, introducing notions of what is required in order to deliver their services effectively across languages and cultures. I will try to bridge the gap between the training for general practitioners and community interpreters, as well as the gap between research and training, by bringing together researchers and practitioners in a practice-oriented research community. This double objective provides an answer to the current needs within the field of community interpreter training in healthcare settings.