Working with an interpreter to run BAME sessions

For some Champions, language is not a barrier when it comes to running Sessions. Catherine Lewis-Dobson recently ran two Sessions at the request of the Hyde Community Action, for Bengali speaking women. Given that she does not know Bengali, and the attendees spoke little English, she used the services of a Community Worker who had attended one of her English Sessions to be an interpreter. Cathy tells us more about how the it worked and gives some tips for other Champions:

‘Both sessions were lively and the audience seemed to be engaging well. I think that a large part of that was down to the personality of the interpreter, and the fact that she and I had a good rapport. There was lots of laughter, and they were keen to answer questions and share personal experiences.’

Working with interpreters

Both the interpreter and Cathy had the Information Session resources to hand which helped as the interpreter had a prompt when translating. This meant Cathy was able to say more before she had to stop for the translation, as the interpreter didn’t have to remember all that Cathy had said. Remember: if you do go off-script then you will have to stop more frequently.

On the flip side, one unexpected consequence of this was that, during the second Session, because the interpreter knew what was coming next, there were a couple of times when the interpreter got ahead of Cathy which caused some confusion, but this only made the attendees laugh!

Keeping to time

Working with an interpreter means you will take more time as you have to wait for the translation to happen. For example, Cathy found that the ‘Telling us your action’ part at the end of the Session took longer as the interpreter was helping attendees to write their action in English. Some of the actions the attendees pledged were visiting friends who are caring for people living with dementia and being more patient.

If you are interested in delivering Sessions to black, Asian and minority ethnic audiences, join our webinar on Tuesday 22 March 17.45 – 18.45 to find out more. Book on to it now.

3 thoughts on “Working with an interpreter to run BAME sessions

  1. Tahmena Khan

    The fact that Dementia Champions can work with translators is good to know as when I attended my Dementia Champions training last year, the trainer said we weren’t supposed to use translators unless they had been on Champions training themselves and understood about the positive language the training used and reinforced.
    Please clarify.
    Tahmena Khan

    1. Dementia Friends Post author

      Hi Tahmena – thanks for your message. Champions can deliver the Information Session in other languages if they’re fluent and feel confident in translating the messages to get across the same meanings. They can also use translators if they have access to them, but it’s certainly useful for them to look over the content of the session beforehand. So although it is useful, it is not essential for the interpreter to be a Champion.

      There is some difficulty when translating as there may not be a word for dementia, or if there is it can have quite negative connotations. It’s also sometimes difficult to translate the different types of dementia e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease. We’d recommend speaking to your Regional Support Officer if planning to use a translator.

      Best wishes,

      Dementia Friends

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