Maghrebi minors as translators in health services in Tarragona (Spain): a qualitative study of the discourse of the Maghrebi adults
BACKGROUND Young people are often used as interpreters for family members in the primary healthcare setting. AIM To explore bilingual young people's accounts of interpreting for family or friends in primary care settings. DESIGN OF STUDY Qualitative study using in-depth interviews. SETTING Community and youth groups in London. METHODS Young people aged nine to 18 years old (n = 77) were purposively sampled to include those from established and recently arrived groups and were from Vietnamese, Kurdish, Bangladeshi or Eastern European backgrounds. Participants were interviewed one-to-one or with a friend, and interview transcripts were analysed to identify key themes. RESULTS Young people were used for interpreting because of deficiencies in services, and also by choice. They identified advantages and disadvantages in their experiences. The majority of healthcare encounters were regarded as unproblematic. Three factors contributed to less successful encounters: healthcare professionals' or patients' communication skills; young people's own language skills, and the nature of the healthcare problem. CONCLUSION This study identifies ways in which primary care professionals could facilitate better communication in encounters where young people are used as interpreters.