Healthcare Interpreting Explained  book cover
1st Edition

Healthcare Interpreting Explained

ISBN 9781138232952
Published June 3, 2019 by Routledge
226 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Healthcare Interpreting Explained is the first comprehensive user-friendly book on the practice of medical/healthcare interpreting. Written by a leading world authority and drawing on research carried out in Europe, the United States, 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 and a range of real-world examples, as well as audio files on the Translation Studies Portal, this is the essential text for all students and practicing interpreters in the areas of medical and healthcare interpreting.



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 . . .

Other related terms

Educational opportunities and certification/accreditation

Education or training? Available options

Education available for interpreters

Education for healthcare interpreters

Education for court or community interpreters

Education for conference interpreters

Brief historical background of interpreter education

What is a professional healthcare interpreter?

Professional practice, profession and professionalism

B. Research, observe and reflect

Exercise 1: healthcare settings and languages

Exercise 2: the case of the Syrian refugees

C. Journal writing

D. Further tasks


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,

patients’ rights and health-related legislation


European Union (EU)

United States

B. Research, observe and reflect

C. Journal writing

D. Further tasks


Further readings/videos

CHAPTER 3 Understanding interpreter-mediated communication in healthcare

A. Interpreter-mediated communication

A more comprehensive approach to healthcare


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 on overall quality of healthcare

Impact of healthcare interpreting

B. Research, observe and reflect

C. Journal writing

D. Further tasks


Further readings and resources

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 and reflect

Exercise 1: openings and closings of interpreted

communicative events

Example 1: opening

Example 2: closing

Exercise 2: interpreter coordinating talk remotely

C. Journal writing

D. Further tasks


Select appropriate care advice (CA)

Exercise: fact or myth? (eye contact, looking at floor)

Exercise: anticipating content and form in medical encounters


Further readings

CHAPTER 5 Skills and competencies – receptive skills


A. Competencies and skills


Interpreting a patient-provider encounter

Communication between patients and providers: examples of contributions

Activity: skills associated with the stages of interpreting

Importance of communication

Receptive skills

Skills associated with linguistic competence

In-depth knowledge and understanding of languages

Ability to shift language registers and ways of


Skills associated with interpreting competence

Preparation – knowledge of subject area

Active listening

Selection of material for active listening

Activity: text selection

Suggestions for sources of materials and

recommendations for practice

Practice sheet on listening skills

Listening for style

Listening for language

Text/discourse analysis


Activity: smoking: an addiction

Activity: best exercise for morbidly obese people to

lose weight Ray, L. (2017) at



B. Research, observe and reflect

Preparation – knowledge of subject area

Linguistic skills and register

Active listening

Activity 1: individual practice

Activity 2: pair practice

Activity 3

C. Journal writing

D. Further tasks

Other exercises associated with enhancing active listening

Additional activity on anticipation


Further readings and resources

Further suggestions

CHAPTER 6 Skills and competencies – 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. Journal writing

D. Further tasks


Further readings

CHAPTER 7 Understanding the role of healthcare interpreters

A. Tracing different conceptualizations of role

A 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


Healthcare interpreters’ perceptions of their own role

Healthcare providers’ perceptions of the role of healthcare


Patient’s/family members’/friends’ perceptions on the role

of healthcare interpreters

The intricacies of role

B. Research, observe and reflect

C. Journal writing

D. Further tasks


Further readings

CHAPTER 8 Ethics in interpreter-mediated medical communication

A. 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


B. Research, observe and reflect

C. Journal writing

D. Further tasks

Professional groups coming together in an interpreted

communicative event: different or similar professional



Further readings and resources

Further readings

Further resources

Examples of code of ethics and standards of practice

for healthcare interpreters

Looking ahead




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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, USA, and Visiting Professor at Beijing University of Foreign Studies, China. Her research lies 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) and Revisiting the Interpreter's Role (2004). She served as President and Vice President for the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association and as Director for the American Translators Association. She was 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 Healthcare Interpreters: Ethical Principles, Protocols, and Guidance on Roles and Intervention (2002). She has extensive experience as a freelancer and consultant in translation and community interpreting/PSI.


"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