‘Medical interpreting in the NHS: Translating language, mediating cultures’ - talk by Dr Teodora Manea - Culture, Society and Medicine seminar series
In the last decade the number of non-English speaking patients that access the NHS has increased considerably. Medical interpreters facilitate the non-English speakers’ access to health care. They arebridges between English and minorities’ languages and cultures. But the role of medical interpreters – stipulated into codes of practice of the UK interpreting agencies – is mostly constructed on the assumption of an invisible interpreter, a language switcher, conveying the “message only” between a client and a service provider. This reductionist approach to the interpreter’s role makes them replaceable with voice convertors via telephone. Their role as cultural mediators and their physical presence during medical consultations is diminished by the defined role of invisibility.
Dr Teodora Manea studied philosophy in Romania and Germany. Between 2000 and 2009 she was senior lecturer specialising in hermeneutics, rhetoric, and philosophy of culture at the University of Iasi, Romania. She was Romania’s representative at the South-Eastern European Bioethics Forum and pioneered the introduction of bioethics as a teaching subject in Romania. In 2006 she continued the specialisation in bioethics at the International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities, Tubingen. Between 2010 and 2018 she taught medical humanities at the Medical School, University of Exeter, focusing on ethics and philosophy. She has been a member of the care ethics network eSOCSCI since 2012 and has also been working for the European Commission since 2011 as an ethic expert (FP7 and Horizon 2020). Her latest project The Other Voice of Medical Consultations is an analysis of medical interpreting. It aims for a better understanding of the experiences, particularities and challenges of cross-cultural medical interactions.
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