Section 1. Overview

1.12 The use of interpreters

Language and communication difficulties are particularly acute barriers to services. However, this should be seen as an issue for the service provider to address rather than the victim's problem alone.

Remember if the victim's first language is not English; ask if they would wish an interpreter to be present for key meetings where complex issues may be addressed.

Ensure the victim is happy with their interpreter. Pay attention to gender and other issues including that of minorities within minorities.

Although friends and family may provide helpful assistance in routine matters, they may be inappropriate for more formal meetings. Never use children as interpreters. The experience could cause them embarrassment or distress.

Staff should be made equally aware of the need for interpreters and should receive training in how to make the most of such a valuable resource.

There are many interpreting agencies now set up across Scotland to provide interpreters as well as ‘Happy to Translate' schemes.


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