Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1384-6647
  • E-ISSN: 1569-982X
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Many health and social care services are implementing video remote interpreting (VRI) to deal with supply shortages and high costs of language interpreting for linguistically diverse clients. This qualitative study examines stakeholders’ perspectives on using VRI for home-based cognitive assessments, which are routinely performed with older people during aged care assessments in Australia. We conducted 25 semi-structured interviews with clients, assessors and interpreters in Melbourne and a regional Victorian city. We found that across stakeholder groups participants usually regard VRI as an acceptable alternative to face-to-face interpreting when the latter is not possible. Freelance interpreters said VRI saved on travel time and expenditure and afforded them financial and practical benefits that enabled them to better meet the high demand for their work. However, stakeholders also pointed to the limitations of VRI, including technical challenges, sound and video quality, and difficulties with positioning equipment optimally during interviews. The assessors and interpreters agreed that VRI was inappropriate when clients are known to be cognitively impaired, and that face-to-face interpreting is necessary to support these clients and ensure assessment accuracy. We suggest that plans by health or social care services to replace face-to-face interpreting with VRI should be balanced against the needs of clients and any impacts on professional practice.


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