Project: Interpreters' knowledge: language justice and equal public service
The purpose of this project was to make use of interpreters' unique experiences from meetings with staff and clients in different welfare settings. Within the project, we have put together a new service in the form of dialogue lectures for staff as well as migrants, offered through interpreter agencies. We have also developed a course syllabus for further education of interpreters and published a number of scientific articles.
Public service interpreters are a professional group that participates every day in meetings in many different welfare settings. This means that the interpreter becomes a witness to what happens in meetings between staff and clients who do not speak Swedish. It is these unique experiences that we want to highlight as an important resource for society.
Interpreters' knowledge is about everything from having competence in interpreting to also having knowledge of the activities they interpret within, and of the situation of clients with migration experiences. In the project entitled Cultural dialogue via an interpreter, an intervention has therefore been carried out in the form of dialogue lectures. During these, interpreters involved in the project met staff and refugees and migrants separately, and had conversations about what happens during meetings in various welfare areas such as health care, social services, schools, and police.
Collaboration between the university and organizations
The project has been carried out in collaboration between Linnaeus University, Örebro interpreter and translator service, and Borlänge municipality's interpreter service. It was funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
Within the project, we have developed a syllabus for further training of interpreters, a methodological support for the lectures, a scientific evaluation and several scientific papers. 62 lectures aimed at staff and 139 for SFI (Svenska för invandrare; Swedish for immigrants), including the target group of third-country nationals, have been conducted under the auspices of the agencies. The lectures have reached 802 unique participants from the target group of third-country nationals and 1,221 staff.
The project lasted 2020–2022. The project group included 12 specially trained interpreters, four project administrators and three researchers. One of the results of the project is that a new service called Dialogue Lecture for Equal Meetings has been developed and established.
Three main areas to strengthen equity in public service
The research has been presented nationally and internationally during the project. It has come to conclusions on three main areas that in various ways strengthen equity in public service.
Linguistic justice – the importance of trust and the knowledge of linguistic rights among refugees and immigrants.
Interprofessional exchange – to increase collaboration between interpreters and other welfare professions.
Professionalization of the interpreting services – improved status and increased awareness of interpreters' own competencies.