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Qual Health Res. 2008 Oct;18(10):1367-83. doi: 10.1177/1049732308323840.

"I am not a robot!" Interpreters' views of their roles in health care settings.

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Department of Communication, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma 73019, USA.


In this study, I examined interpreters' self-perceived roles and their corresponding communicative goals and strategies. Twenty-six professional interpreters (of 17 languages), 4 patients, and 12 health care providers were recruited for this study, which involved participant observation of medical encounters and in-depth interviews. Constant comparative analysis was used to generate a typology of interpreters' self-perceived roles, which are different from the roles they learned in their training. Different roles reflect differences in interpreters' concern for other participants' goals, institutional goals, and their own communicative goals. Interpreters' desire to maintain neutrality during the medical encounters influences the communicative strategies they adopt when assuming other roles. I conclude the article with the theoretical and practical implications of interpreters' self-perceived roles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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