Interpreter Policy and Healthcare: Policy determinants and current issues

Pamela Wish Garrett



Healthcare interpreter policy comprises both the written and the unwritten actions that affect the interpreter service, its structure, funding and service provision arrangements. A model of interpreter service policy is proposed which identifies policy determinants as being: interpreter provider factors, non-English-speaking (NES) patient factors, health system factors, stakeholder factors, factors associated with non-health sectors and evidence and research. Interpreter policy is viewed as being nested within multicultural and mainstream healthcare policy.

Using this model, the article canvasses the range of factors currently influencing healthcare interpreter policy, discusses the evidence and research related to the effectiveness of current policy, and makes suggestions for future directions.


Interpreters; Interpreter policy; multicultural policy; healthcare interpreters; policy model

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