BICOM Partners
dock europe

Ortrun Kliche and dock europe - short presentation of our backgrounds

I am a linguist and I have a degree as translator/interpreter for my main foreign languages Italian and French. Already at university I realised that not only the theoretical “mute” side of different languages was of big interest for me but also the non-spoken aspects of communication as well as the “living” part of communication (who is speaking to whom?). For nearly 15 years now I have been working in the European youth and adult education, starting with teaching German as a foreign language, carrying out European exchange programmes, moderating and interpreting European, multinational meetings and carrying out European study seminars with various socio-political topics. I understand my work as a small contribution in order to support the development of a social Europe for people (in addition to the economic Europe for goods).

In different projects of European cooperation (Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci) I experienced all kinds of strange, frustrating, embarrassing, funny, relieving or even enriching problems of communication and understanding each other became often the most important problem to solve although everybody accepted (and spoke, of course) a common lingua franca and everybody was aware that problems of communication might occur.

For two years now, together with my colleague Petra Barz, I have been setting up dock europe.

dock europe promotes education and transnational cooperation in a European dimension and wishes to encourage people all over Europe to exchange with partners in other countries, within and beyond the EU-borders. We provide know-how for the development of European cooperation projects; we promote cross-cultural learning (and conceived a diversity-training for this purpose) and would like to deepen European knowledge by offering different forms of training and further education.

We understand our work in the field of education as a contribution towards a social Europe, which will be created by the people, who are living and working within the European countries. Therefore there is a big need for knowledge, which concerns the European Institutions and the realities of other countries, as well as for an intense cross-border cooperation between cultural, educational and social institutions. Intercultural learning, meant as a mutual and reciprocal process, is one of the most important cross-sectional tasks, which has to be integrated in all parts of education.

dock europe is networking not only European-wide but also locally and is cooperating with centres of adult education, universities, vocational schools and organisations of youth and social work.

Our interests in BICOM

  • to promote bilingualism as a value and not as a fault (bilingualism does not necessarily mean that both of the languages are spoken perfectly)
  • to sustain the value and the acceptance of non-formal competencies (like bilingualism)
  • to find out if it is possible to create European-wide general training modules for ad hoc-interpreters in social and health care professions
  • to find out which competencies – apart from the pure linguistic ones – are necessary to guarantee a good doctor-patient-communication (for example)

dock europe GmbH
Amandastr. 60
20357 Hamburg

Tel: +49 40 80 60 92 22
Fax: +49 40 80 60 92 15


Short biography Bernd Meyer

I am a linguist working in the area of doctor-patient-communication and interpreting. I am especially interested in how ad hoc interpreting in hospitals impinge on the course and the content of doctor-patient communication. I wrote my PhD about a topic from this area, as well as several articles.

Since 1999 I am working as a research assistant in the Research Centre on Multilingualism in Hamburg. Until 2005 I was working for Kristin Bührig in her project about Interpeting in hospitals. Currently I am working for Juliane House in a project on simultaneous and consecutive interpreting – a topic that has nothing to do with communication in hospitals anymore. Beside that I am giving university courses from time to time, and I have developed a training module to enhance interpreting skills of bilingual hospital staff. I am offering these workshops to hospitals with quite some success – hospitals are more and more looking for training possibilities in this field.

My interest in BICOM is not primarily scientific, but first of all a political or social one. During my studies I wondered more and more about why everybody, even the patients themselves, finds it normal that these non-native patients are treated differently (in terms of communication) - only because they don’t speak German well enough. This is completely outdated for a society which – at least on paper – wants to promote European integration and inclusion of migrant communities. Access to health care is a basic need and a right, and lack of linguistic competence shouldn’t lead to restrictions in this regard. Lack of competence in the national language may have many reasons; it doesn’t necessarily indicate that people don’t want to be part of the society in which they live.

Therefore, I am interested in how this issue is addressed in other countries and whether it is possible to promote small changes on a European level.

Dr Bernd Meyer
Research Centre on Multilingualism
Max-Brauer-Allee 60
D-22765 Hamburg

Tel: +49 40 42838-6456
Fax: +49 40 42838-6116