Brokering language and culture: can ad hoc interpreters fill the language service gap at community health centers?

Christopher R Larrison, Daniel Velez-Ortiz, Pedro M Hernandez, Lissette M Piedra, Andrea Goldberg
Social Work in Public Health 2010, 25 (3): 387-407
The purpose of the research was to explore the ability of ad hoc interpreters to integrate into the organizational climate at a federally qualified community health clinic (CHC) and create satisfactory services for limited-English-proficiency clients. Survey and interview data were gathered from staff (n = 17) and Latino clients (n = 30). The data indicate that clients felt satisfied with interpreters. Some friction existed between the interpreters and the medical staff due to incongruent expectations. The CHC's organizational climate and the interpreters' commitment to the Latino community mediated the impact of these tensions on services and satisfaction. The study offers important insight into how ad hoc interpreters can become professional medical interpreters within a limited-resource service environment.

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