A Healthier Scotland: Towards a training model for effective ethical translation in health care settings in Scotland

The aim of this project was to develop a research-based, pedagogical model for effective translation in intercultural health care settings, using drama and role play.

The project brought together a team of researchers in the School of Education and the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow, the School of Health at Glasgow Caledonian University and BEMIS (a non-HE third sector partner).

Filling the gap

Despite the fact that inefficiencies and shortcomings in translation and translation usage in health care settings have been widely studied, suggested ways forward that go beyond prescriptive guidelines and guidance for ‘working with interpreters’ are generally lacking.

Moreover, most studies explore either the experiences of practitioners, of migrants as service users, or those of interpreters. Whilst providing important insights, this dominant approach tends to treat these three participants as separate entities, consequently masking the co-dependent and connected nature of their relationship during the health care consultation. As a result these three participants in the health care encounter are rarely brought into dialogue with each other about the issues and challenges of effective translation in health care settings.

A three-fold approach

This project adopted a three-fold approach that aimed to fill this gap: firstly empirically, by bringing together service providers, interpreters/translators and service users into the research design; secondly by adopting a pedagogically-advised intercultural communication approach to training and developing this within the interpreting encounter; and thirdly by using practice-informed scenario-based role play and dramatisation as an effective training method for highlighting the different challenges that can arise for all parties where translation occurs in the health care encounter.

PI and Co-Is - International Collaborators

Principal Investigator: Prof Alison Phipps
Post Doctoral Research Associate: Dr Teresa Piacentini
Co-investigators: Dr Ima JacksonDr Niamh StackProf Kate O’Donnell
Non-HEI Partner: Tanveer Parnez (BEMIS)

Start and End Date


Funder and Funding Amount

Total Grant Received: £98,334 (£122,918 FEC)


Related Publications

Piacentini, T. , O'Donnell, C. , Phipps, A. , Jackson, I. and Stack, N. (2019) Moving beyond the ‘language problem’: developing an understanding of the intersections of health, language and immigration status in interpreter-mediated health encounters. Language and Intercultural Communication, 9(3), pp. 256-271. (doi: 10.1080/14708477.2018.1486409)

Addtional resources availanle at https://www.gla.ac.uk/research/az/gramnet/research/trainingmodel/resources/

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