Healthcare Interpreting Explained: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Healthcare Interpreting Explained

1st Edition

By Claudia V. Angelelli


224 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138232952
pub: 2019-06-13
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9781138232945
pub: 2019-06-13
Available for pre-order

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Healthcare Interpreting Explained is the first comprehensive user-friendly book on the practice of medical interpreting. Written by a leading world authority and drawing on research carried out in Europe, the US, Australia and Asia, this process focussed text goes beyond terms and concepts to cover medical discourse, ethics and protocol, professionalization, cognitive factors, problem-solving strategies, assessment and more. Including summaries, tasks, further reading, a range of real-world examples and with audio files on the Translation studies Portal, this is the essential text for all students and practising interpreters in the areas of medical and healthcare interpreting.




"Healthcare Interpreting Explained is a first-rate introduction to the vast area that is healthcare interpreting. Professor Angelelli covers the necessary background knowledge about healthcare, and then introduces the two-fold foundation of situated practice and interpreter-mediated communication. Grounded in research and abundant relevant examples (transcripts of actual practice), this volume also offers a variety of exercises and tasks, making it an invaluable asset to students, novice interpreters and anyone interested in healthcare interpreting. Closing with discussions of conceptualizations of role and ethics, Angelelli has provided us all, the interpreting studies community, with a comprehensive overview of the field."

Cynthia Roy, Gallaudet University, USA

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Figures


About this Book

Using this Book


Chapter 1: Introduction to the Professional Practice of Healthcare Interpreting

A. Introduction to Healthcare Interpreting

Healthcare Interpreting and Healthcare interpreters by Any Other Name

Educational Opportunities and Certification/Accreditation

Education versus Training: Available Options

Education Available for Interpreters

Education for Healthcare Interpreters

Education for Court or Community Interpreters

Education for Conference interpreters

What is a Professional Healthcare Interpreter?

Professional Practice, Profession and Professionalism

B. Research, Observe and Reflect

C. Further Tasks

D. Journal Writing

E. References

F. Further Readings

Chapter 2: Understanding the Healthcare Setting and its Language Provision Policy

A. Introduction to Healthcare Organizations

Healthcare Organizations: Contexts and Cultures

Stakeholders in Healthcare Organizations

Healthcare Providers (HCPs)

Patients (and their family members/caregivers)

Administrative Staff

Providers of Language Services

Healthcare Interpreters

Ad-hoc Interpreters

Issues of Language and Access in Healthcare Organizations

Access to Information

Language Provision in Healthcare Organizations

Language Provision and the Law: Healthcare Interpreting, Patient’s Rights and Health-related Legislation


The European Union

United States

B. Research, Observe, Reflect

C. Further Tasks

D. Journal Writing

E. References

F. Further Readings

Chapter 3: Understanding interpreter-mediated communication in healthcare

A. Introduction to Interpreter-mediated communication

A More Comprehensive Approach to Healthcare Interpreting

Analysis of the Healthcare Interaction

Analysis of the Interpreted Communicative Event

Communication between Providers and Patients

Communicative Goals and Social Factors

Communicative Skills of Participants

Impact of Language Barriers and Cultural Gaps

The Medical Interview

Interpreter-mediated Communication for Providers and Patients

Role of Communication

Social Factors, Communication and Relationships

Other Factors Influencing HCP/HI/Patient Relationship

Influence of Culture of Overall Quality of Healthcare.

Impact of Healthcare Interpreting

B. Research, Observe, Reflect

C. Further Tasks

D. Journal Writing

E. References

F. Further Readings

Chapter 4: Understanding content and form in interpreter-mediated medical communication

A. Meaning and understanding: do the same things mean the same to all?

Message Content and Form

Message Content

Message Form

Content and Form in Mental Health Encounters

B. Research, Observe, Reflect

C. Further Tasks

D. Journal Writing

E. References

F. Further Readings

Chapter 5 (with Christian Degueldre): Skills and Competencies: Receptive Skills

Competencies and Skills


Interpreting a Patient-Doctor Encounter

Importance of good communication

A. Receptive skills

Skills associated with linguistic competence

In-depth knowledge and understanding of languages.

Ability to use language registers

Skills associated with interpreting competence

Preparation - Knowledge of subject area

Active Listening

Selection of material for listening

Suggestions for sources of materials and recommendations for practice

Text analysis/information processing


B. Research, Observe, Reflect

C. Further Tasks

D. Journal Writing

E. References

F Further Readings


Chapter 6 (with Christian Degueldre): Skills and competences – Productive Skills

A. Productive Skills

Skills associated with linguistic competence

Public speaking skills

Skills associated with Interpreting competence

Paraphrasing for Delivery




General Principles of Note-Taking


Sight Translation/sight interpreting

How to sight translate/interpret a text

Skills associated with Cultural competence

Ability to navigate the cultural gap

Interpersonal skills

Skills associated with Research Competence

Skills associated with Technical Competence

B. Research, Observe and Reflect

C Further tasks.

D. Journal Writing

E. References

F. Further Readings

Chapter 7: Understanding the Role of Healthcare Interpreters

A. Tracing Different Conceptualizations of Role

Brief Review of Empirical Studies on the Role of Healthcare Interpreters

Views Emerging from Discussions in Professional Associations

Role Explained by Metaphors

Perceptions of Healthcare Interpreters’ Role

Interpreters as perceived by HO Administrators or Managers

Healthcare Interpreters’ Perceptions of Their Own Role

Healthcare Providers’ Perceptions of the Role of Healthcare Interpreters

Patient’s/family member’s friends’ perceptions on the Role of Healthcare Interpreters

The Intricacies of Role

B. Research, Observe, Reflect

C. Further Tasks

D. Journal Writing

E. References

F. Futher Readings

Chapter 8: Ethics in Interpreter-mediated Medical Communication

  1. Professional Ethics Surrounding Healthcare Interpreting

Ethics of Physicians

Ethics of Nurses

Ethics of Healthcare Administrators and Managers

Ethics of Interpreters

Examples of Intersecting Ethics

Ethical Dilemmas Faced by Interpreters and Decision-making Processes

B. Research, Observe, Reflect

C. Further Tasks

D. Journal Writing

E. References

F. Further Readings and Resources

Looking Ahead





About the Author/Editor

Claudia V. Angelelli is Chair in Multilingualism and Communication at Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh campus), UK, Emeritus Professor of Spanish Linguistics at San Diego State University, United States and Visiting Professor at Beijing University of Foreign Studies, China. Her research sits at the intersection of sociolinguistics, applied linguistics and translation and interpreting studies. She is the sole author of Medical Interpreting and Cross-cultural Communication (2004 Cambridge University Press), Revisiting the Role of the Interpreter (2004 John Benjamins). She has published over 80 articles and book chapters. She is the Past President of the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association and has served as Director of the American Translators Association (6 years). She served as the World Project Leader for ISO 13611 Standards on Community Interpreting (PSI) approved as the first ISO Standard on community interpreting/PSI. She co-authored The California Standards for Health Care Interpreters. Ethical Principles, Protocols, and Guidance on Interpreter Roles and Interventions. Prof. Angelelli has extensive experience as freelancer and consultant in translation and community interpreting/PSI.

About the Series

Translation Practices Explained

Translation Practices Explained is a series of coursebooks designed to help self-learners and students on translation and interpreting courses. Each volume focuses on a specific aspect of professional translation and interpreting practice, usually corresponding to courses available in translator- and interpreter-training institutions. The authors are practicing translators, interpreters, and/or translator or interpreter trainers. Although specialists, they explain their professional insights in a manner accessible to the wider learning public.

Each volume includes activities and exercises designed to help learners consolidate their knowledge, while updated reading lists and website addresses will also help individual learners gain further insight into the realities of professional practice.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Translating & Interpreting