Collaborating With Interpreters

Linguistic diversity in the United States continues to impact the way in which speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and audiologists conduct their day-to-day work. According to a 2016 American Community Survey on language use in the United States, more than 65 million people use a language other than English and more than 1,000 different languages are spoken (Gambino, 2016). The number of languages used and the number of individuals who require services in a language other than spoken English far exceed the capacity of bilingual service providers to accommodate them. Therefore, it may be necessary for the clinician to collaborate with an interpreter, transliterator, or translator to ensure clinically appropriate services. Furthermore, legal and ethical standards (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association [ASHA], 2017; Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Executive Order No. 13,166 [2000]; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990, as amended) require that services to individuals who use a language other than spoken English must be delivered in the language most appropriate to that student, client, patient, or family.

When collaborating with interpreters, transliterators, or translators, a clinician remains responsible for planning the session, selecting culturally relevant materials, and appropriately administering the services. It is the legal and ethical responsibility of the facility and its providers to offer reasonable and appropriate accommodations to facilitate access to clinical services.

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