Effects of interpreters on the evaluation of psychopathology in non-English-speaking patients

Am J Psychiatry. 1979 Feb;136(2):171-4. doi: 10.1176/ajp.136.2.171.


Non-English-speaking patients in need of psychiatric services are usually evaluated with the help of an interpreter. Discussions with psychiatrists and lay hospital interpreters who had experience in these interviews and content analysis of eight audiotaped interpreter-mediated psychiatric interviews suggested that clinically relevant interpreter-related distortions could lead to misevaluation of the patient's mental status. The author notes that pre- and post-interview meetings of clinicians and interpreters have been found useful in minimizing these distortions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adjustment Disorders / diagnosis
  • Attitude
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Language*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Translating*