CLAS Standards for Mental/Behavioral Health

Chapter 5: Mental / behavioral health interpreting


Interpreting in mental/behavioral health settings: considerations for interpreters

Interpreting in a mental/behavioral health setting is a specialized skill. Trained medical interpreters should be aware that it differs from medical interpreting in key ways. Differences in mental health encounters include:

It’s about effective communication.

In a mental/behavioral health setting, using the simultaneous mode of interpretation may be more necessary than the consecutive mode.

Simultaneous mode

Consecutive mode

Items for an interpreter to address during a pre-session

Items for an interpreter to address during a post-session

It’s about taking care of yourself so that you can take care of others.

Self-care is an important part of the interpreting process. Some mental/behavioral health interpreting can be very intense and emotionally challenging for an interpreter. It's imperative that interpreters take the necessary time to keep themselves healthy in order to provide the best care and services possible.