Lost in Translation: Social Workers' Perceptions of the Benefits and Challenges of Spoken Language Interpretation in Medical Settings
Date of Paper/Work
Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
Type of Paper/Work
Clinical research paper
With the increasing number of foreign born individuals in the United States, the usage of spoken language interpretation is also increasing in order to provide equal and quality services for patients with limited English proficiency. Understanding the dynamics of working with interpretation is important in order to achieve best practice for social workers. The purpose of this study is to explore the social workers' perception of spoken language interpretation use in a medical setting. The study examines the amount of interpretation usage and the different type of interpretation usage. The study also explores the satisfaction of the interpretations' performance in sessions from a social workers' perspective. A total of 46 social workers completed the research study survey. The survey consisted of both quantitative and qualitative questions. The study found that in-person interpretation is the most utilized and is perceived to have the best satisfaction. Patients' family members and friends were also found to be widely utilized as interpreters. However, this usage is mostly due to patients' wishes or lack of professional spoken language interpretation for the situation. The study found several important implications for social work practice, policy, and future research. The results suggest that the social worker profession needs to receive more education around working with interpretation in order to provide quality services and fulfill ethical standards. The results also suggests need to establish standard policies for spoken language interpretation services. Suggestions for future research are also provided in the paper.
social work, interpretation, medical setting
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hsu, Flora, "Lost in Translation: Social Workers' Perceptions of the Benefits and Challenges of Spoken Language Interpretation in Medical Settings" (2016). Social Work Master’s Clinical Research Papers. 608.