It is not only about translating a language: A qualitative study about working with interpreters in health promotion groups for refugees
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Background: Forced migration poses a health risk and health promoting groups can be a measure to promote health for refugees in exile. In such groups interpreters are necessary, but this can be challenging due to the dynamic form of interaction. Research shows that knowledge on how to use interpreters are varying and that healthcare workers report lack of competence in refugee-work. There is a need for research on using interpreters in groups and reflections over professional knowledge in refugee work. The Aims of the study are to achieve insight in experiences with using interpreters in health promoting groups for refugees and to reflect over professional knowledge in refugee work. Theory: The theoretical base of the study is health promotion. Methods: The research study has a qualitative, exploratory design and is based on interviews with 23 group participants, three healthcare workers and one interpreter. The analyze is based on systematic text condensation in four steps, inspired by Malterud. The Reflection-paper is a literature study. Results: The analysis points to three main themes: 1) A professional collaboration, 2) the interpreter’s role – neutral or cultural intermediary, and 3) the interpreter’s physical and emotional position in the group. Empowerment-techniques, knowledge on working with interpreters and critical reflection on practice can be appropriate in refugee work Conclusion: In refugee work it is necessary to have knowledge on how to work with interpreters. A good implementation of using interpreters in groups implies a professional collaboration between interpreters and practitioners. Empowerment-techniques and critical reflection can contribute to avoiding discriminatory practice.
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