According to the Society for Endangered Languages, there are about 6,500 different languages worldwide. Linguistic communication is regulated very differently in states. For example, the constitution of Switzerland provides for four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. In South Africa, twelve official languages are permitted currently. In Germany, on the other hand, there is only one official language.
As in many countries, cultural and linguistic diversity is also increasing in Germany's population. A large proportion of the people who have immigrated to Germany and fled their homes did not grow up with German as their mother tongue. According to the Socio-Economic Panel (IAB Migration Sample), even after more than eleven years of residence in Germany, 37% of migrants have poor or no language skills in German. These figures make it clear that communication in German is associated with sometimes considerable restrictions for a significant part of the population. As a result, the possibility of equal participation in society and health is significantly limited.
Since 2005, the state has been offering integration language courses in Germany. As a rule, these have a scope of 600 hours and are an important component of the integration policy. However, not a sufficient one. There are always communicative situations at public authorities, social or health institutions in which the language skills of citizens are not sufficient to achieve the goal of the conversation.
In order to avoid the use of unqualified family members, friends or employees, BetweenLanguages is committed to the professionalisation of qualified interpreting in the health and community sector. The main pillars of this process are the promotion of minimum qualifications for interpreters in the community, the integration of qualified interpreting into the communicative processes of organisations, and the empowerment of professionals in interpreter-mediated conversations.
The various research projects were carried out under the direction of the Research Group on Migration and Psychosocial Health (MiPH) at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) together with various project partners such as the association SEGEMI Mental Health Migration and Refugee, the Swiss interest group for intercultural interpreting INTERPRET, the Volkshochschule Hamburg, bikup - International Society for Education, Culture and Participation, Diakonie Hamburg and the UKE Academy for Training and Career.
The scientific conception and evaluation of the measures carried out as well as the publication of the methods and results hopefully contribute to the professionalisation of qualified interpreting and to the improvement of care in multilingual settings.