An exploratory study on telephone interpreting in the Western Cape healthcare sector

Brink, Eloise Karin (2014-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Communication in a global context is seriously hampered by language barriers. These barriers pose special challenges to service delivery, particularly in the healthcare sector. Onsite interpreting is considered most conducive to enable effective communication. In South Africa, however, it is not practical and financially viable to employ onsite interpreters for all the possible language combinations. Telephone interpreting is proposed as an alternative to onsite interpreting and Folio Online’s InterTel service offers telephone interpreting in the Western Cape healthcare sector. This study gauges whether the InterTel service has the potential to contribute in any way to effective communication in the Western Cape healthcare sector. In South Africa, language barriers do not only exist in communication with tourists or immigrants, but also among the country’s own inhabitants. Furthermore, effective communication in the healthcare sector is particularly crucial. Miscommunication may lead to misdiagnosis and/or incorrect usage of medication, which in turn may result in death. The possible loss of life renders the issue of overcoming language barriers in the healthcare sector an important one. The aim of the study is to argue descriptively about InterTel telephone interpreting service as a viable solution to the communication difficulties between healthcare practitioners and patients in the Western Cape healthcare sector. The research had to be narrowed down and instead the study descriptively argues whether InterTel service contributes to communication in the Western Cape healthcare sector. The researcher conducted an interview with the Folio InterTel project manager and sent out questionnaires to the Folio telephone interpreters. Five transcribed recordings of conversations between healthcare practitioners, patients and Folio telephone interpreters were analysed. The findings of this study echo the findings of related studies reported in literature on telephone interpreting. The conclusion is that the Folio InterTel service makes a valuable contribution to more effective communication in Western Cape healthcare facilities.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Kommunikasie in ’n globale konteks word ernstig gekortwiek deur taalverskille. Hierdie verskille bied groot uitdagings vir die diensleweringsektor; meer spesifiek die gesondheidsorgsektor. Ter-plaatse tolking word beskou as mees bevorderlik vir betekenisvolle kommunikasie. In Suid Afrika is dit egter nie prakties en bekostigbaar om ter-plaatse tolke in diens te stel vir die groot verskeidenheid taalkombinasies nie en telefoontolking word as alternatief oorweeg. Folio Online bied die InterTel-telefoontolkingsdiens aan in die Weskaapse Gesondheidsektor. Hierdie ondersoek sal bepaal of die InterTel-diens die potensiaal het om effektiewe kommunikasie binne die Wes-Kaapse Gesondheidsektor te bevorder. Taalgapings in Suid Afrika kom nie soseer voor in kommunikasie met toeriste of immigrante nie, maar eerder tussen die land se inwoners. Voldoende kommunikasie in die gesondheidsektor is van kardinale belang. Misverstande kan tot verkeerde diagnoses en/of die verkeerde gebruik van medisyne lei, wat in uiterste gevalle aanleiding mag gee tot die dood van ’n pasiënt. Hierdie moontlike noodlottige gevolge plaas taalgapings in die gesondheidsektor onder die soeklig. Hierdie studie is ’n beskrywende argument wat ten doel het om te bepaal of Folio Online se InterTel-diens ’n lewensvatbare oplossing bied vir die kommunikasie-probleme tussen gesondheidspraktisyns en pasiënte in die Wes-Kaapse gesondheidsektor. Die navorsingsondersoek is gebaseer op ’n onderhoud met die Folio InterTel-projekbestuurder en vraelyste aan die onderskeie telefoontolke. Analises van vyf getranskribeerde opnames van gesprekke tussen gesondheidspraktisyns, pasiënte en Folio InterTel-telefoontolke vorm ook deel van die ondersoek. Die bevindings van hierdie studie toon ooreenkomste met die bevindings van ander relevante studies soos opgeteken in die literatuur oor telefoontolking. Daar is bevind dat die InterTel-diens, soos gelewer aan die Wes-Kaapse Gesondheidsektor, wel ’n waardevolle bydra maak tot die bevordering van kommunikasie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95873
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