Interpreter Mediated Medical Encounters in North Italy: Expectations, Perceptions and Practice
This paper aims to investigate expectations and perceptions regarding the figures who mediate between healthcare personnel and foreign patients in Italy. The objective is to explore the distinction – seemingly unique to Italy – between the two terms “interpreter” and “mediator” and the reasons behind this separation. Healthcare providers and interpreters/mediators were questioned about their respective opinions through questionnaires and interviews. Both categories worked in local health units of a Northern Italian region, predominantly in the Emergency Departments. Special attention was paid to the following aspects: interpreter/mediator’s roles and tasks, invisibility versus active participation and the use of personal pronouns and indirect speech. In order to examine the level of consistency between perceptions and practice on these topics, 26 mediated encounters were observed according to prearranged parameters. These consultations involved the same subjects who had previously participated in the questionnaires. Four sessions, which proved to be particularly relevant for the purposes of this research, were subsequently transcribed and examined from a qualitative point of view. Themethod of the case study, herein adopted, allowed for the analysis of the subjects’ behaviour fromdifferent points of view, in linewith the overall objective of providing a holistic view of the themes investigated. Drawing on Inghilleri’s suggestion of “interpreting” as a “zone of uncertainty” (2005), the paper also refers, in particular, to Leanza’s newtypology of roles (2007), to Davies & Harré’s theory of positioning (1990) and to Bot’s description of reported speech (2007).
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EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Sara Pittarello, "Interpreter Mediated Medical Encounters in North Italy: Expectations, Perceptions and Practice", in: The Interpreters' Newsletter 14/2009, Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2009, pp. 59-90