Working with Spanish-speaking Interpreters in a Family Health Setting: Assessing Language Needs and Implementing Training
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An estimated 53 million Hispanics currently live in the United States, comprising 17 percent of the total population. By 2060, this number is projected to rise to 128.8 million, comprising 30 percent of the population. Despite these numbers and numerous studies highlighting the low level of training and availability of Spanish-language interpreters in health care settings, current initiatives to prepare for the projected population increase are limited. This thesis examines the use of interpreters at the Family Health Center clinic system in Waco, TX, providing an analysis of current issues and recommendations for ongoing training. Research instruments used in this project included a language needs assessment based on previous research, interpreter and clinician training interventions, Spanish language proficiency exams, and patient satisfaction surveys. Results indicated that additional training was needed, and response to the initial interventions was positive, suggesting that future training programs might provide additional benefits.