The 1st Community Interpreters & Multicultural Consultants Case Study Group (held on April 17)
This fiscal year, the first Community Interpreters & Multicultural Consultants Case Study Group was held in connection with the Training Members of a Multicultural Society program. Mainly comprised of those who completed the Social Work Training course last year, 32 participants from Brazil, China, Peru, Philippines and Japan actively participated in the discussion.
“Can I go to a different hospital than the one written on my referral letter?”
Ms. So, a consultant who helps Japanese war orphans who lived in China, had a case where the person she was helping wanted to go to a different hospital than the one written on her referral letter. The medical social worker Yoko Sasagase answered, “It is best to ask the hospital that you want to go to. Sometimes even if the address of the hospital is different, because the details about the illness are written down, it is ok to go to another hospital. But sometimes you are required to go to the hospital on the referral letter. In that case, you should go to the previous hospital and ask them to write you a referral letter for the hospital that you wish to attend.” It was very helpful to hear the opinions of a specialist about hospitals and doctors.
Participants talked about the importance (and difficulty) of not just translating words, but also translating the difference in systems and cultures.
During the group work sessions, participants talked about their experiences and the importance (and difficulty) of not just translating words, but also translating the difference in systems and cultures. In Japan, cleaning the school is considered part of the students’ education, but in Brazil it is the janitor’s responsibility. Therefore, when Brazilian parents let their child skip cleaning the pool at a Japanese school, there is a reason behind this related to the difference in systems.
In order to help those parents understand the cultural difference, it is not enough to just translate the sentence “Why did your child skip the clean-up?” but rather the interpreter must understand both cultures and explain the cultural and systematic differences. Participants also shared about how it was difficult to decide when it is okay for interpreters to add their own explanations, and when they should just translate what is being said.
There were various cases that the participants were worried about and they did not have time to discuss them all.
It was very meaningful for the participants to not only get advice from specialists, but to be able to exchange ideas and opinions with other interpreters and consultants in the same situation as themselves.