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Interpreting in Medical Settings: Roles, Requirements and Responsibility

At a glance

  • Project leader : Anina Hofer
  • Project team : Prof. Dr. Michaela Albl-Mikasa, Dr. Marcel Eggler, Prof. Dr. Ulla Kleinberger
  • Project budget : CHF 670'000
  • Project status : completed
  • Funding partner : CTI
  • Project partner : HEKS (BS/AG/SO), comprendi? Bern, Vermittlungsstellen (Caritas LU/GR), CLS Communication, Universitätsspital Basel / Universitätsspital Zürich / Inselspital / Kantonsspital Winterthur / Academy of Swiss Insurance Medicine
  • Contact person : Michaela Albl-Mikasa


This project aimed to produce a differentiated depiction of medical interpreting activities based on the implementation and analysis of a written questionnaire on the expectations of the professional profile, practical interpreting activities and, in particular, interpreter role behaviour from various perspectives (physicians, nurses and interpreters). In addition, transcriptions of interpreter-mediated conversations (Albanian/German and Turkish/German) were analysed from both a medical and an interpreting sciences perspective. The conversations analysed centred around the psychiatric-psychological setting.

Based on the results of this interdisciplinary project, standards were defined and best practice models drafted for the medical personnel heading up the conversations, interpreters and providers. The results may also be drawn upon in interpreter training. An initial database comprising 1000 entries to date (Albanian/German and Turkish/German) also resulted from this project.