Language interpreting as social justice work: perspectives of formal and informal healthcare interpreters

DeAnne K Hilfinger Messias, Liz McDowell, Robin Dawson Estrada
ANS. Advances in Nursing Science 2009, 32 (2): 128-43
The assurance that limited-English-proficient individuals have access to quality healthcare depends on the availability of competent healthcare interpreters. To further understand the complex work of interpreting, we conducted in-depth interviews with 27 formal and informal healthcare interpreters. Participants identified the technical conduit role as the professional standard. Yet they experienced considerable role dissonance and blurring. From their position "in the middle," they witnessed discrimination and bias. Having a social justice perspective encouraged expanding their role to include advocacy and cultural brokering. Implications for nursing include a shared commitment to language access and social justice.

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