Expert Community Interpreting Services in Switzerland: Enabling Effective Cross-Cultural Communication and Support
As we can conclude from the name, community interpreting (also referred to as intercultural interpreting) is specific to any form of community-based organisational setting and helps people who are not fluent speakers of one of Switzerland’s official languages to communicate with public service providers.
Community interpreters are the voice of community members, addressing isolation, frustration and misunderstanding and supporting effective diagnoses, treatment and prevention. Intercultural interpreters facilitate communication and better integration into society, while bridging both cultural and linguistic barriers.
We provide intercultural interpreting services especially in the field of health and social services.
Community interpreting in a medical context – Hospital interpreting
Words are easy to interpret but the meaning behind them is sometimes difficult to convey. Especially when it comes to doctors’ appointments or medical consultations in hospitals, it is essential that patients with insufficient language skills understand every detail, no matter how small, for example,
- during medical consultations with doctors or in hospitals or
- when conducting assessment interviews (related, for instance, to disability and occupational capacity evaluations).
It is therefore not permitted to use a relative, acquaintance or family member as a lay interpreter for this purpose. Any bias must be avoided by law.
Which interpreting settings and techniques are preferred?
In such settings, this type of on-site interpretation is still the primary choice in Switzerland – particularly due to data protection:
- Interpreting via video conference or telephone might be more uncomfortable or alienating for the person concerned or their family members.
- Sensitive data is used during consultations or evaluations concerning disability or capacity to work between patients or insured persons and medical experts. It must therefore be ensured that no third parties have access to this information. Interpreters must consequently provide their services on site.
The technique of liaison interpreting is used here. The interpreters translate what is said into the other language in short sections and with a time delay.
Community interpreting for social services
In social services settings, interpreting services are also regularly in demand. In most cases, liaison interpreting is the technique used and, since social matters often involve personal issues, tact and sensitivity are required, just as in the medical and legal context.
Whether meetings or discussions at educational institutions or authorities at cantonal and communal level such as the CAPA (child and adult protection authority), regional employment centres, civil registry offices (marriage preparations, civil marriages, paternity acknowledgments) or social welfare offices, we will be happy to find suitable interpreters for your appointment.
Why qualified intercultural interpreters?
As a reputable language service provider in Zurich, Switzerland, community interpreting is an essential part of our range of services. By providing them we contribute to promoting respect, equality and human rights, working with all communities and individuals needing interpreting support, as well as help all those who are part of an established community, isolated individuals or members of a newly arrived group with little knowledge of Swiss systems.
Qualified intercultural interpreters provide their professional services in hospitals and health care facilities, in cases where planned consultations involving complex or emotional topics require the physical presence of an interpreter (face-to-face), or in the case of unpredictable, unplanned or short consultations (by phone).
With our large team of interpreters who either have a conference interpreting degree, are court-accredited interpreters or have completed the specific interpretation training offered by INTERPRET, a recognised Swiss organisation offering intercultural interpreting training, we can guarantee the highest quality standards.
Our expertise in community interpreting
We have longstanding experience in the Swiss language services market and a large network of qualified and expert interpreters. Over the years, we have gained valuable experience working with them for various Swiss authorities, medical practices and organisations, from which you can now benefit.
Our managing director, Silvia Cerrella Bauer, has been working for many years as intercultural interpreter for various Swiss agencies and institutions. She has built up a large network of accredited interpreters in many languages, which allows us to quickly respond to our multilingual clients with solutions tailored specifically to their needs.
Domains and languages
The services we offer can help you in areas such as:
- Social services
- Local government issues and affairs
Our wide range of languages include (non-comprehensive list):
As well as in many other European and non-European languages:
- Farsi (Persian)