Issa

Issa

In 1973 I arrived in Australia from Jordan and I am ethnically Palestinian. Since 1982, I have been working as a professional interpreter, predominantly in community health centres and public hospitals.

In my work as a professional interpreter, I have interpreted for thousands of Arabic speaking patients and families, representing the diverse countries of the Arab world, the diverse ethnicities, the diverse religions and of course, the diverse variations of the Arabic language.

Although my job is to strictly interpret across English and Arabic, I am often asked by health practitioners a range of questions about Arabic culture. I am frequently reminded that practitioners need to have more information about the Arabic culture, its customs, traditions and its diversity.

Given that language is culturally embedded, it would be of enormous value for practitioners to strengthen their knowledge of their patients’ cultural background and be well equipped to make culturally appropriate health assessments.