Community Interpretation in Human Services: Survey Report concerning Communication Support in Maternal and Child Health
I have been conducting research to establish intervention acts of community interpretation as expertise of interpretation. Community interpretation means interpretation in the scenes that are closely related to the lives of foreign residents and persons with communication disorders. In communication on human services such as medicine, education and welfare, balance of power differs between professionals and clients. While professionals who provide assistance have a tremendous amount of information and discretion, clients who receive assistance must have seek assistance of professionals in order to solve their own problems. In addition, clients have difficulty having access to the information they are seeking in many cases. In order to deal with such communication issues which arise from the unbalance between both parties, interpreters conduct various kinds of intervention including coordination of communication and playing a role of caregivers. However, since such intervention, which connect professionals with clients, depend on intuition and experience of certain people who are called “veteran” in many cases, such intervention are not recognized as the unique expertise of community interpretation.
I have been not only served as a community interpreter for a long time but also have established an interpretation consultation system and provided advices concerning interpretation consultation as an interpretation coordinator. Kyoto City International Foundation*1 which I affiliate to provides non-Japanese residents etc. with interpretation consultation services in which non-Japanese residents etc. can receive interpretation and consultation services over the phones. Moreover, it provides a dispatch of interpreters for maternal and child health services such as health check-ups for infants which are held at health centers and visits to houses with newborn babies.
I served as a facilitator at the symposium in Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Interpretation and Consultation Services, “Considering Multicultural Child-Raising Support” on August 19, 2017 (On the extreme right)
The dispatch of interpreters for maternal and child health services has been made since FY2009, and the number of dispatch has been increased six times from 38 in FY2009 to 214 cases in FY2016. The main reason for this increase is the increase of non-Japanese residents, especially that of international students. Currently, Kyoto City actively attracts international students. There are many government-sponsored international students who come to Kyoto as graduate students or researchers. Many of such students have families with small children and the number of students who come to Kyoto with their families and give birth and raise their children in Kyoto. Also, there are some fixed residents who come to Kyoto after marrying Japanese orphans left behind in China or Japanese people. Since such people consider coming to Kyoto, giving birth, and raising their children as part of their life plan, it is considered that this tendency will continue from now on, too. However, when they give birth and raise their children in Kyoto, various issues will arise due to differences of cultures and languages, including isolation of foreign parents etc., difficulty of getting necessary information, and lack of information concerning where to consult with.
Activity Report in Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Interpretation and Consultation Services “Bonding Languages with the Minds: Focusing on Support of Languages concerning Maternal and Child Health.”
In order to understand the situation of what problems foreign parents etc. have in order to communicate with others and what kinds of supports are offered to them correctly, questionnaires were provided to foreign users etc., public health nurses, and interpreters in order to conduct a survey concerning both communication in maternal and child health and supports for foreigners etc. who raise children in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the interpretation and consultation services of Kyoto International Foundation. And its survey report*2 was published in August 19, 2017.
Let me introduce part of the survey result. About 70% of public health nurses said that they have not provided enough support concerning maternal and child health support to foreign users etc. Public health nurses are required to provide supports for various people including those with various cultures or backgrounds, domestic violence and economic issues. In order to do so, they must have a deeper level of communicate with such people. However, it is found out that since use of well-trained interpreters is limited, public health nurses have not provided the expected support. The report also includes information concerning how interpretation consultants work together with public health nurses in order to support foreign users etc.
So far, a fact-finding survey concerning how communication support has been provided in the field of human services has not been conducted sufficiently. From now on I aim at understanding the more accurate situation by accumulating such surveys and establishing intervention acts of interpreters in human services as professional skills.
*2 Kyoto City International Foundation, 2017, “Activity Report in Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Interpretation and Consultation Services “Bonding Languages with the Minds: Focusing on Support of Languages concerning Maternal and Child Health.” This report is distributed at Kyoto City International Foundation for free of charge (please note that the report is written in Japanese and the number of the report is limited). For further inquiries, please contact the Business Affairs Section of Kyoto City International Foundation.