IPTI: what and how

What is interprofessional training for interpreters?

Interprofessional training can briefly be defined as combining two different professional fields to enable them to learn with, from and about each other. The notion that such an approach can be beneficial dates back to the 1960s and was especially prevalent in the medical field. In the United Kingdom, for example, a Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE, https://www.caipe.org/about-us) has been around since 1986 and it brings professional partners together, encourages research, alerts policy makers to the importance of interprofessional education, etc. Over the years, we have set up several projects with partners from legal, medical and political backgrounds to give interpreting students the opportunity to practice with their key client groups in a controlled environment, as well as to allow the client groups to experience communicating with an interpreter present.

How do we approach interprofessional training?

Interprofessional training consists of the following elements:


Both student groups receive separate lectures on the communication principles of the other group. Interpreting students learn about police interrogations, the stages of a legal trial and about medical consultations. Medical students, aspiring police inspectors and magistrate trainees learn about interpreters, an interpreter’s code of ethics and the best practices.


Both groups are then brought together for elaborate role-playing exercises. All interpreting students interpret at least one exercise. Interpreters who are not interpreting, observe the exercise.


Both groups receive feedback on their performance and behaviour during the role-playing exercise from their own teachers and from the teachers of the other course. The observing students also participate in that assessment.


The group of interpreting students reflect on and talk about the role-playing exercise in a separate course on interpreting ethics.