There are many excellent interpreting services that provide accurate and precise interpretations.
However our service was born out of a need identified by a range of organisations for language support that understood the issues being talked about without fear of cultural taboos and cultural norms getting in the way of support.
“Our interpreter refused to talk about this sensitive issue, as it would be culturally inappropriate and shameful for him to talk about this with a woman.”
“We found out later that the interpreter spoke about female genital mutilation (FGM) as a good thing to the woman we were supporting. When challenged she said it was normal for women from their country and that she did not think that it was an issue.”
“The woman we were supporting was very uncomfortable with the interpreter as she knew them from the community and was worried about confidentiality”
Using family or friends as language support
“We thought using an older sister would be good as she would be supporting the young women at home as well. However much later we found out the sister was part of problem and family pressure the young person was experiencing.”
“The subject we were discussing was very personal and a taboo in most communities and the friend providing language support and the women being supported looked very uncomfortable and embarrassed. We didn’t use friends again.”
A Joseph Rowntree Foundation Report – ‘Using interpreters to access services: user views’ states “A good interpreter is regarded as someone who does more than change words into another language. People prefer proactive interpreters who can empathise with them, help with understanding procedures and plead their case. The personal character, attitude and trustworthiness of an interpreter are seen as crucially important.”
This is where our service fits in. Our focus in on understanding the issues and supporting women to communicate their needs within a comfortable and supportive experience.
The lack of appropriate language support is evidenced in a number of reports.