Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Points de vue autorisés sur la consultation médicale soumise à traduction

Singy, Pascal

In: Bulletin VALS-ASLA, 2001, vol. 74, p. 175-192

Verbal language is particularly important in medicine. It enables the exchange between the physician and the patient and constitutes in itself a tool with preventive and curative potentiality. In this regard, migrant patients are dramatically discriminated against. Their inability to speak the local language in the medical setting can only enhance their state of distress which is already often... Plus

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    Summary
    Verbal language is particularly important in medicine. It enables the exchange between the physician and the patient and constitutes in itself a tool with preventive and curative potentiality. In this regard, migrant patients are dramatically discriminated against. Their inability to speak the local language in the medical setting can only enhance their state of distress which is already often significant because of the reasons behind their migration (e.g. political refugees). The presence of a professional who is able to ensure a veritable care giver/migrant patient mediation can restore an equilibrium between the local and migrant population. Results of a recent Swiss research action show that, contrary to patients, care givers are clearly divided concerning the limits of the roles of the professional interpreter. All care givers emphasised the necessity of the presence of an interpreter in consultations with migrant patients, however they did not all adhere to a common definition of the interpreter’s function. A large number of them would like to see the interpreter’s activity limited to a word for word translation. Other care givers criticised the perception of an interpreter as a translating machine. Convinced of the importance of cultural aspects in the definition of psychiatric troubles, they would rather see the interpreter as an agent whose action orientates the content of the consultation.