Dr. Michal Schuster, of BIU’s Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies, is focused on more than teaching her students and training Israel’s future translators.
Schuster implements her theoretical studies and academic expertise in an effort to improve language access and cultural competence in Israel. She is involved in various programs in the public, non-profit and academic sectors, specifically in the area of healthcare. As part of the Israeli Community-Academia Partnership, Schuster teaches the course “Community Interpreting" which trains students in interpretation skills in and supervises their volunteer activities as community interpreters in public institutions and NGOs. Schuster explains that this training defines the translator’s ability to effectively communicate with people from different cultures and provide them with a valuable service: “In an immigration State like Israel, language barriers may lead to problems and sometimes even life threatening mistakes. Community interpretation bridges between non-natives to public handlers or caretakers, thus promoting social and cultural equality in Israel.”
Schuster says that the field of Community Interpretation is already a wildly developed discipline, regularly utilized in many countries, and is crucial to immigrant communities in Israel. “My aspiration for the future is to have community interpreters publically and officially recognized. As long as Israel is an immigration State that continues to absorb Olim from all around the globe, we must be able to provide services to our “customers” in their native languages. This will greatly benefit our society, both newcomers and natives.”
Schuster is also an active member of a nationwide movement for the advancement of cultural competence in Israel’s health care system and medical services. Additionally, along with other faculty members from the Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies at BIU, Dr. Michal Schuster has lead a project for one of Israel HMO's (Maccabi Health Services) to train over-the-phone medical translators in Russian and Arabic. As such, when a patient who only speaks Amharic or Russian or Arabic arrives at a clinic, they are assigned professional translation services so that the medical professionals can immediately start communicating with the patient in their own language.
For more on Dr. Schuster click here.