Friday 20th of May 2022


La voix des patient.e.s en santé reproductive : pour une interprétation des (non)-dits


Natacha Niemants, Università di Bologna pdf_icon_30x30


Abstract: Recent studies of interpreter-mediated doctor-patient interactions have shown that participants to talk problematize their understanding and, in line with other forms of interaction, collaborate in the co-construction of meaning, even when talk is bilingual and translation is involved. Thus translation is not mere repetition of speakers’ utterances in another language, but also contributes to achieve communicative tasks and goals. In their talk activity, participants, including the interpreter-mediator, orient to both interactional and institutional tasks. This study analyses a particular type of institutional interpreter-mediated talk, that taking place in reproductive health of both female and male patients. The settings are interesting because they involve two voices and territories of knowledge on often delicate reproductive issues which, in my data, need to be negotiated not only between doctors and patients, but also with interpreter-mediators. Building on corpora of audio-recorded, transcribed authentic interactions collected in both gynecological and andrological settings, my analysis looks at what is said (and translated) and especially what remains unsaid (or non-translated) in data from both settings. Preliminary results show that “not saying” may actually hinder the possibility of sharing understanding, both when doctors and patients “do not say” and, even worse, when interpreter-mediators “do not translate” into the other language, or do so by using vague expressions. The paper suggests that interpreter-mediated talk in these settings may be particularly demanding in terms of communication achievements and that the establishment of a common ground may be enhanced by participants' – and especially interpreter-mediators’ – transparency with respect to what is said and what remains (temporarily or permanently) unsaid.


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