Interpreting Practices in a Mental Health Facility

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Any interaction between a person with a mental illness and a mental health professional is in many cases a challenging one. If you add to the equation that the patient is a Limited English Proficiency (LEP) one, the challenge is even greater. Interactions with mental health patients are very different from interactions between general healthcare professionals and patients with a physical condition.

In a mental health interaction, there are many components that are critical when trying to build rapport and gain the trust of the patient. Items such as initial diagnosis, monitored testing, elicitation and demonstration of symptoms, proposed therapy, recovery and management of symptoms (among others) all occur via interactions where the ability to openly and effectively communicate is paramount.

Where the person with a mental illness and the mental health professional do not share a common language, the interpreter’s participation in developing this relationship is crucial. A mental health interpreter’s performance plays a key part in the effort of the mental health professional, as the provider becomes reliant on the interpreter in order to interact effectively with the patient.

Interpreting Practices in a Mental Health Facility is an interactive e-learning course designed for employees and teams who work with international and multilingual populations and interpreters in a mental health facility setting. By the end of the course, participants will have a better working knowledge of the unique challenges that interpreters experience while on the job and best practices for working with foreign language interpreters and multilingual clients or patients.


The course is structured to be patient and compassion-centric—working in a mental health facility often requires extra training, patience, understanding, and skill. Course topics include the differences between bilingual speakers and trained interpreters, safety while on the job, the boundaries included in the role of an interpreter, and “dos and don’ts” for working with interpreters for extended or long sessions. As interpreters who work in a mental health setting often spend full days with patients, it is especially important to have a thorough understanding of interpreting ethics and professional division.

Duration and format

The course is timed to last for 30 minutes and consists of an e-learning lecture personalized for your team and/or company. If requested, we also offer an exam with a certificate upon completion and a passing exam result. The course is structured to broadly engage employees, ensure information retention, and encourage application. There’s a virtual classroom version of the course that is entirely online and easily accessible from our e-learning platform—no downloads or special permissions required. Both the e-learning and virtual classroom versions of the course can be taken at your convenience with a member of our team. The information is updated regularly to meet current standards. If necessary, Interpreting Practices in a Mental Health Facility is further customizable to fit your organization’s needs. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or for more information.


This course has a cost of $45.