Voices of the community: Exploring the experiences of resettled refugee interpreters at a refugee clinic in a large multicultural city in Texas, United States of America

Andrew J. Jeffery, Rebekah J. Salt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Worldwide refugees numbered nearly 25.9 million in 2018 and, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the crisis grows each year. Research reports that refugees have a high prevalence of mental health conditions and are at increased risk for emotional and mental distress during resettlement. Furthermore, interpreters have been shown to be at increased risk for secondary re-traumatisation, a condition similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, where client trauma shares commonalities with trauma experienced by the interpreter. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of resettled refugee interpreters. Based on previous data from this community, the research team determined that a qualitative methodology was best practice to explore the experiences of resettled refugee interpreters. In May of 2019, seven participants were recruited from a pool of resettled refugee interpreters who worked at a refugee health clinic in a large multicultural city in Texas. One-on-one interviews were conducted, and the data were analysed using content analysis. Five themes emerged that represented the experiences of these participants: speaking for others, developing interpretation strategies, advocating for the community, receiving social support and overcoming challenges specific to the healthcare setting. The findings from this study add to the current body of literature that addresses the experiences of resettled refugee interpreters. Furthermore, these data may be used to create additional resources for refugee interpreters who work at health clinics, such as training on medical terminology, access to mental health services and site-specific incentives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • interpreters
  • interprofessional
  • mental health
  • qualitative
  • refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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