Bilingual Health Communication : Working with Interpreters in Cross-Cultural Care book cover
1st Edition

Bilingual Health Communication
Working with Interpreters in Cross-Cultural Care

ISBN 9781138999459
Published February 18, 2016 by Routledge
372 Pages

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Book Description

Winner of the NCA Health Communication 2021 Distinguished Book Award.

This book examines interpreter-mediated medical encounters and focuses primarily on the phenomenon of bilingual health care. It highlights the interactive and coordinated nature of interpreter-mediated interactions. Elaine Hsieh has put together over 15 hours of interpreter-mediated medical encounters, interview data with 26 interpreters from 17 different cultures/languages, 39 health care providers from 5 clinical specialties, and surveys of 293 providers from 5 clinical specialties. The depth and richness of the data allows for the presentation of a theoretical framework that is not restricted by language combination or clinical contexts. This will be the first book of its kind that includes not only interpreters’ perspectives but also the needs and perspectives of providers from various clinical specialties.

Bilingual Health Communication presents an opportunity to lay out a new theoretical framework related to bilingual health care and connects the latest findings from multiple disciplines. This volume presents future research directions that promise development for both theory and practice in the field.

Table of Contents

  1. Interpreter-Mediated Medical Encounters as a Field of Research
  2. Emerging Trends and Corresponding Challenges in Bilingual Health Care
  3. Innovative Research Designs to Advance Theory and Practice
  4. Conceptualizing Interpreters in Bilingual Health Communication
  5. Model of Bilingual Health Communication
  6. Interpreters’ Perception and Management of Competing Goals
  7. Clinical Demands and Interpersonal Relationships in Bilingual Health Care
  8. Interpreter-Mediated Medical Encounters as Goal-Oriented Communicative Activity
  9. Moving Forward in Theory Development and Practice Recommendations

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Elaine Hsieh holds a MA degree in Translation and Interpretation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a Doctorate Degree in Health Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has worked as a telephone interpreter for the AT&T Language Line Services and as an onsite interpreter at many different hospitals, including the UCSF Stanford Health Care. She is a 2015-2016 Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar and an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Communication at the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Hsieh has been involved in research on bilingual health communication for over 15 years. She obtained a 3-year NIH grant as the Principal Investigator to examine providers’ needs in interpreter-mediated encounters. The American Medical Association’s Office Guide to Communicating with Limited English Proficient Patients have adopted her work as the primary theoretical framework in conceptualizing different types of interpreters and their corresponding impacts. As a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar, She conducted research on the effects of language barriers for immigrant in Taiwan and is Associate Editor of Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.


"Hsieh’s well-organized book provides an up-to-date synthesis of literature related to the use of interpreters in health care. Hsieh develops an excellent, holistic, contextual, and culturally sensitive model titled the 'Model of Bilingual Health Communication,' which is rich with information about the interaction between and among individuals and systems and the importance of the delivery of optimum health care services...Highly recommended" CHOICE

"In addition to the strong holistic approach this book takes to cross-cultural health care, the author presents a sound focus on theory and theory development, which are arguably often too quickly addressed or altogether ignored in many academic books. [...] This text would be useful for interpersonal communication undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, and medical students, as many of the issues raised are pertinent to already existing conversations about the state of health care." --Janelle Applequist, Journal of Language and Social Psychology 1–3 (2017)

"No one is better placed to write an exhaustive account of bilingual health communication." --Alexander Bischoff, Interpreting 19:2 (2017)