Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Health Care Interpreting in Slovenia

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.05.02  Humanities  Linguistics  Theoretical and applied linguistics 

Code Science Field
H365  Humanities  Translation 

Code Science Field
6.02  Humanities  Languages and Literature 
Health Care Interpreting, Community Interpreting, Discourse of Interpreting, Terminology Management, Slovene Language
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (9)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  23368  PhD Tatjana Balažic Bulc  Linguistics  Researcher  2010 - 2013  196 
2.  31245  PhD Lars Felgner  Linguistics  Researcher  2010 - 2013  47 
3.  15894  PhD Uroš Golobič Ahčan  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2010 - 2013  602 
4.  14681  PhD Vojko Gorjanc  Linguistics  Head  2010 - 2013  483 
5.  13955  PhD Nike Kocijančič Pokorn  Literary sciences  Researcher  2010 - 2013  442 
6.  12481  PhD Blanka Kores Plesničar  Psychiatry  Researcher  2010 - 2013  398 
7.  32485  PhD Alenka Morel  Humanities  Researcher  2010 - 2013  30 
8.  15476  PhD Marko Pokorn  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2010 - 2013  307 
9.  06323  PhD Vesna Požgaj-Hadži  Linguistics  Researcher  2010 - 2013  488 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0312  University Medical Centre Ljubljana  Ljubljana  5057272000  77,929 
2.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  98,876 
3.  1620  University Psyhiatric Hospital  Ljubljana - Polje  1191004000  3,485 
In view of the ever greater migration of representatives of different ethnic and linguistic groups not only within the enlarged EU, but also from the communities outside European borders, the issues regarding establishing communication in social services is becoming one of the most pertinent problems of contemporary societies. The challenge of establishing successful communication in medical settings is seen as the most burning issue in the majority of the EU member states, especially after the last enlargement. Since Slovenia became the member of the EU, it has turned into a country of increasing immigration (economic and political). The migrants now come from the linguistic environments that are not familiar to Slovene general public. Many of those migrants come into contact with Slovene health service providers but cannot establish a successful communication, which leads into longer, sometimes even inappropriate treatment and higher costs. The virtual inexistence of healthcare interpreting in Slovenia reflects insufficient legal basis that would organize the field in an integrated way and thus enable its further development. Currently, the establishment of communication in healthcare settings with speakers of languages that are not traditionally understood by the medical personnel is only managed through improvisation and goodwill of all parties involved. The need for the interpretation in health care is consequently only known to those who experience the lack of it. The proposed research aims to respond to this growing need. It will, on one hand, analyze the state of the art of public service interpreting (PSI) in Slovenia and attempt to raise awareness for the need of providing PSI among Slovene health-care stakeholders, and, on the other hand, it shall take up a proactive approach by fulfilling all the necessary conditions for the implementation of a training programme for healthcare interpreters which would correspond to the specific needs of Slovenia. Thus, it shall respond to a clear demand, since more and more Slovene healthcare providers have to address the needs of patients who do not speak the Slovene language or languages in which healthcare providers can communicate. The main research objectives of the proposed project therefore are: 1. a review and analysis of the state of the art of public service interpreting in Slovenia; 2. compilation of a list of literature dealing with healthcare interpreting and related issues in Slovenia, critical discussion of the legislation dealing with public service interpreting; 3. the possible use of IT tools facilitating interpreting in Slovene healthcare settings will be explored; 4. awareness raising activities to inform healthcare stakeholders, healthcare providers and users of the healthcare services of the need for healthcare interpreting and establish the ground for that activity in Slovenia; 5. a design of the curriculum for health care interpreting for Slovenia and preparation of all the documentation; 6. implementation and evaluation of a curriculum for health care interpreters; preparation of teaching material; selection and training of trainers; 7. a design of a proposal how to organize the network for healthcare interpreting provision service in Slovenia; 8. dissemination of the results of the project. The proposed project group shall include researchers employed by the Department of Translation Studies, University of Ljubljana, who were also actively involved in the European LLL Project MedInt - Development of a curriculum for medical interpreters (134007-LLP-2007-AT-GRUNDTVIG-GMP), and by the Department of Slavonic Studies, since the most numerous potential users of interpreting in healthcare system are speakers of the South-Eastern Europe. The partners of the consortium are also researchers from the most important medical institution in Slovenia, the University Medical Centre in Ljubljana.
Significance for science
Interpreting in healthcare has been almost completely neglected in Slovenia, both in interpreter training and interpretation research. So far, research on healthcare interpreting has not been given much attention at the two existing translation/interpreting departments in Slovenia (University of Ljubljana and University of Maribor). For specific aspects, information is scarce or even non-existent, e.g. for medical problems of foreign-language patients and languages interpreted in healthcare facilities. In addition, there is a lack of specific measures and initiatives on healthcare interpreting in Slovenia. The first research of this kind in Slovenia has given us a collection of data on the legal basis, the state-of-play in healthcare institutions, the need for language combinations and opinions of different stakeholders who, in one way or another, cooperate in the context of healthcare interpreting in Slovenia. Interpreting for healthcare institutions is more or less extensively studied in many EU countries, but new member states pay much less attention to this topic. The research project in Slovenia is the first in-depth scientific investigation of healthcare interpreting in Slovenia, one of the new member states, and thereby complements the data on the state of this field in the whole EU. In relation to comparative research results abroad, our study innovatively contributes to them in three segments: - Analysis of the reality of healthcare interpreting and raising awareness about the need to adjust the standards of practice of healthcare interpreters: The triadic position in interpreting, which is the starting point in interpreting practice and training, originates in the medical setting of the United States and their recommendations, and is being uncritically transferred to other settings. An analysis of the situation in different clinics of Slovenian healthcare settings showed constrictions both due to space and to the actual practice in healthcare institutions. Interpreter training needs to be based on real constrictions and not idealised circumstances, as are assumed by the standards of practice and the codes of conduct for healthcare interpreters. - Interpreter training as an upgrade to other medical staff competences: Financial restrictions in the healthcare system require as financially efficient a system as possible, at least as a temporary alternative leading to a more systematic approach. In cooperation with the Ljubljana Clinical Centre, a programme proposal for basic public service interpreter training was adapted in such a way as to enable building interpreting skills for medical staff that are prepared to act also as interpreters. - Use of unstructured language data in preparation for public service interpreting and including these kinds of experiences in public service interpreter training: When no adequate established terminology resources are available, which is a characteristic of languages present in public service interpreting, the internet can be a resource of wide-ranging and thematically diverse texts, even in specific areas. Proposed were a solution for building ad-hoc specialised corpora and a method for their analysis that enables a relatively fast acquisition of relevant data in context, which is of great significance in preparation for public service interpreting.
Significance for the country
Recently, Slovenia has been facing a large growth of immigrants and this trend will probably continue in the future. Considering increasing immigration of representatives from various language groups to Slovenia, the issues regarding establishing communication in social and health services are becoming a common problem for the Slovenian society to deal with. Due to language barriers, many of these migrants are facing inadequate access to medical services. The training of healthcare interpreters and sensitization of medical staff are going to help to guarantee higher quality communication and understanding of medical settings and thus contribute to better interpreting service provision. Therefore, long-term beneficiaries will be especially patients with foreign-language background since the use of healthcare interpreters will enable them better access to healthcare services. In the long run, medical and therapeutic institutions and the society at large are also going to benefit considerably from increased interpreting quality. Facilitating communication for foreign-speaking patients is also a significant part of integration measures, seeing that a systematic approach to interpreting also helps in establishing intercultural dialogue. Migrants are a vulnerable social group; their original social context and the qualifications from their country of origin are often not accepted in the host countries, but by acquiring additional interpreting qualification they will be able to better integrate into Slovenian society.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2010, 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2010, 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Views history