14. Achieving quality in health care interpreting

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The cultural and linguistic diversity of Australian society presents an ongoing challenge to the health care system. The 30th anniversary of the New South Wales Health Care Interpreter Service (HCIS) provided stimulus to reflect on the interpreter’s contribution to improved health care and better health outcomes, from the viewpoint of the interpreters themselves. This paper, based on an examination of case studies prepared by eighteen staff at one HCIS centre in metropolitan Sydney, highlights the importance of technical skills, a professional approach and experience in achieving quality in health care interpreting. Dealing successfully with the scope and challenges of the interpreter role, and being a valued member of the health care team, leads to job satisfaction which also leads to increased quality.


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