Announcing Panace@ next issue for December 2014
Intercultural Communication in the Healthcare Setting / Comunicación intercultural en el ámbito médico
Lissie Wahl-Kleiser, Carmen Valero-Garcés, Bárbara Navaza & Effrossyni (Effie) Fragkou (coords.)
Call for papers
The professionalization of medical interpreters to ensure proper training as well as official recognition by governing bodies in the field of interpretation, has over the past decade become equated —either stricto sensus or latisimmo sensus— with strict sets of rules, whether labelled Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct or Norms. These, as understood and practiced by healthcare providers, interpretation service departments and interpreters themselves have become synonymous with a mandate for interpreters to remain invisible. To many, quality in medical interpretation is invisibility for medical interpreters. On-the-ground practice demonstrates in contrast that for interpreters to fully perform the tasks with which they are entrusted, transcending their prescribed role makes them more effectual, when bearing in mind the ultimate goals of medical interpreting.
Hence, so-called invisible interpreters are not as invisible as one would like to think. While this brings on a set of ethical dilemmas, an underlying concern is how then to define and circumscribe intercultural communication while, at the same time, considering institutional/professional interpreting requirements and power differentials among doctors, patients, and interpreters.
Emerging research in the field of medical interpreting in various milieus, languages and countries acknowledges the problem of invisibility in connection with prescriptive requirements. In 2004, Claudia Angelelli in her seminal work entitled Medical Interpreting and Cross-cultural Communication observed the disconnect between the prescribed role for medical interpreters in various Codes of Ethics in the United States and the actual, day-to-day practice of these interpreters in hospitals and other healthcare settings. While ground-breaking research continues to take taking place, researchers’ valuable conclusions are rarely finding their way into the act of medical interpreting, that is, real-life interpreting situations
Currently, third parties such as hospitals, interpretation agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and medical interpreters’ associations with limited authority and legal foundation issue certificates sanctioning training in medical interpretation. College- or university-based education, while incorporating language-neutral interpreting teaching and learning methodologies, remains by and large language-specific. They are also often part of a larger program leading mainly to a university diploma in conference interpreting. Judging from various curricula descriptions, such training programs emphasize intercultural communication and the Code of Ethics as pre-requisites to quality interpretation. However, they fail, first, to provide consistent conceptualization of the notion of intercultural communication; second, to explain how intercultural understanding presupposes knowledge of contextual factors through thinking, interacting and behaving within socially-defined historical contexts; and, third, to demonstrate how understanding other cultures and acting accordingly can go hand-in-hand with such presently expected professional attitudes as are impartiality, invisibility and detachment.
This special issue of PANACE@ strives to move forward this effort in multilingual and multicultural complex societies by exploring key synergies and discordances between academia and real life interpreting. We are looking to include theoretical and case study discussions of: (1) intercultural communication; (2) new approaches to intercultural communication training; (3) challenges and dilemmas for medical interpreters "being ethical" and "acting ethically;" (4) the implications of medical interpreters' (in)visibility in specific situations; (5) working together: the influence of healthcare providers' in general and patients' views in medical interpreting; (6) structural factors influencing medical interpretation, including legal, economic, and social determinants; (7) approaches to medical interpreting in public and private healthcare services; (8) transdisciplinary professionals and their role as medical interpreters; and (9) whether a single framework for medical interpreting can apply to different settings, as are home-health centers, NGO's, emergency services and other specific contexts.
We look forward to receiving contributions in Spanish, English and French that address these subjects from an interdisciplinary vantage point. If interested, please submit a 500-word abstract by no later than May 15th to the editors:
Lissie Wahl-Kleiser : Elizabeth_walh@hms.harvard.ie.edu
Carmen Valero-Garcés: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bárbara Navaza: email@example.com
Effie Fragkou: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Information about submission guidelines in: http://www.tremedica.org/documentos/Normas_Publicacion_Panacea_2011.pdf)