Role of the culture-broker/interpreter

Cultural and linguistic skills are essential to the CCS service mental health delivery system and bicultural/bilingual trained and accredited professional staff are used whenever available.

The CCS employs interpreters who also act as culture brokers in assessing patients and providing meaningful interpretation of their clinical problems. The interpreter acts in collaboration with the consultant in generating the cultural formulation and recommendation.

Professional interpreters are usually hired from Régie Regionale. The clinical coordinator of the CCS can assist with arranging this.

The interpreter should speak the specific dialect of the patient and be well versed with local knowledge, cultural beliefs, and practices of the patient's cultural group.

The interpreter should participate along with the consultant in facilitating exchange of relevant information regarding the patient’s predicament to the CCS team.

The interpreter, like the consultant, should be aware of his/her own values, biases and emotional reactions to patients’ material and be comfortable with cultural differences in relationships.

The interpreter and the consultant must meet before the interview with the patient to discuss their respective roles and duties, and to clarify the goals of the interview, and to address any special considerations related to mental health issues.

The consultant and interpreter/culture broker should meet after the interview to discuss any observations, and points that need clarification or further interviewing.

In the case of difficulties the consultant or interpreter should discuss the case with the CCS clinical coordinator.

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