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Language Quality and Maternity: how to ensure effective communication in maternity settings where healthcare providers and users do not share the same language (DRUGANJU19)

Project Description

The University of East Anglia and the Shared Services Partnership group/The Language Shop ( invite applications for a Collaborative Doctoral Award as part of the Language Quality and Maternity project.

This PhD research project will focus on communication across languages in maternity settings. What happens when healthcare providers and users do not use the same language? How are new technologies being harnessed to help, and when do they hinder effective communication? The proposed project represents a unique industry-academic partnership which offers the required access to users and real-world data to address this gap in knowledge.

We are keen to hear from suitably qualified applicants, ideally with experience of healthcare settings and/or the language industry, relevant technologies (particularly remote video interpreting and telephone interpreting), excellent spoken/written communication skills, and fluency in at least one language other than English. The successful candidate is likely to be based in Norwich for two years and London for one year, with support available for additional costs of living in London. Further travel to conduct research will also be required.

The main supervisor, Professor Jo Drugan, wrote the first ‘real-world’ study of translation quality assessment (Bloomsbury, 2013). The proposed project offers a doctoral candidate the chance to test, extend and develop this quality assessment model in relation to spoken/signed language in maternity settings where effective communication is essential but time and budgets are under extreme pressure. The second academic supervisor, Dr Sharon Black, is an expert in accessibility and interpreting. Industry supervisor, Jaimin Patel, acts as the representative partner of the umbrella Shared Services Partnership group (SSP), a forum for public sector clients and users of language services, particularly Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS Trusts, and local authorities.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

Type of programme: PhD

Project start date: October 2019

Mode of study: Full time

Entry requirements: The ideal candidate for this studentship will have strong research potential as well as relevant experience of working in translation, interpreting and/or healthcare. This combination could be achieved in a range of ways, however, and we would wish to consider both those with directly relevant academic qualifications in translation and interpreting studies, and less traditional applicants who have a suitable combination of skills and experience.

Essential skills/attributes:
Strong academic qualifications in languages, translation, interpreting or other subjects relevant for the research topic; outstanding spoken and written communication skills in English; excellent IT skills, preferably including strong experience in Excel as our data sets will require manipulation of information in this format.

Desirable skills/attributes:
Experience and/or knowledge of maternity/healthcare settings; professional experience of translation/interpreting or related roles in the language service industry; experience and/or knowledge of relevant technologies, including telephone and remote video interpreting.

Acceptable first degree - Languages, Translation/Interpreting, Intercultural Communication. We will also consider applicants who have appropriate experience in combination with qualifications in other relevant disciplines such as Business Studies, Midwifery, Healthcare Ethics. The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Applicants must have or be working towards a Masters in a relevant discipline.

As applicants will be applying for a specific research project, they do not need to include a Research Proposal as part of their online application. They should, however, upload a Research Statement including why they are applying for the project, an outline of relevant current knowledge and skills and an indication of how these will help them complete the research and their training needs.

Funding Notes

This studentship is being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts in the South-East England (CHASE). This studentship is funded for 3 years (full-time) and comprises home/EU fees and a stipend of £15,559 for two years and £17,559 for one year.

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