Interpreter-Mediated Healthcare Communication - Srikant Sarangi

Interpreter-Mediated Healthcare Communication - Srikant Sarangi

Third Party Insurance? Interactional Role Alignment in Family Member Mediated Primary Care Consultations

Interpreter-Mediated Healthcare Communication - Srikant Sarangi

Celia Roberts [+-]
King's College, London
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Celia Roberts is Emeritus Professor of Applied Linguistics at King's College, London.
Srikant Sarangi [+-]
Aalborg University
Srikant Sarangi is Professor in Humanities and Medicine and Director of the Danish Institute of Humanities and Medicine/Health at Aalborg University, Denmark. Between 1993 and 2013, he was Professor in Language and Communication and Director of the Health Communication Research Centre at Cardiff University. Currently he is also Professor in Language and Communication at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim (Norway); Visiting Research Professor, Centre for the Humanities and Medicine, The University of Hong Kong; and Visiting Professor at University of Malay. In 2012, he was awarded the title of ‘Academician’ by the Academy of Social Sciences, UK. His research interests include: institutional and professional discourse; quality of life and risk communication in genetic counselling, HIV/AIDS, telemedicine, general practice and palliative care; intercultural pragmatics; language and identity in public life; ethnicity, race and discrimination in multicultural societies. He is author and editor of twelve books, guest-editor of five journal special issues and has published nearly two hundred book chapters and journal articles in leading journals in discourse and communication. He is the editor of Text & Talk as well as the founding editor of Communication & Medicine and with (C. N. Candlin) of Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice.


This paper deals with general practice consultations where there is a third party present, as a companion, to support the patient and act as a mediator between doctor and patient. Our study contrasts with most, but by no means all, of the studies on interpreting, which (1) focus on a transmission of information model in professional interpreting, (2) do not address monolingual mediated consultations where the third person is a carer and/or (3) do not address issues of trust and feelings which can characterise consultations mediated by family members. The data for this paper is drawn from a London based project: Patients with Limited English and Doctors in General Practice: Educational Issues (PLEDGE). Using Goffman’s participant framework and aspects of narrative performance, we propose a cline of mediation, which can be mapped onto the structure of the clinical consultation – as evidenced through two case studies. The analysis indicates that consultations with companions that act as lay interpreters have more in common with monolingual triadic consultations than with professionally interpreted consultations. The shifts in role-relationships and alignments between the three participants subvert their official position to produce a remarkable intimacy and collaboration, while often subduing but sometimes amplifying the patient’s voice. There are implications of our findings both for family carers as mediators and for primary care health providers.

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Roberts, Celia; Sarangi, Srikant . Third Party Insurance? Interactional Role Alignment in Family Member Mediated Primary Care Consultations. Interpreter-Mediated Healthcare Communication. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 145-170 Apr 2024. ISBN 9781845539030. Date accessed: 15 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44100. Apr 2024

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