115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

How Do the Interpreters’ Position in the Examination Room and the Projection of their Voice Affect their Renditions during Well-Child Visits?

Elena Gandia Garcia, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

This presentation focuses on how the physical position of the ad hoc interpreters in the examination room affects the projection of their voice, and how this alters their renditions.


This case study focuses on the evaluation of the ad hoc interpreting carried out mainly by bilingual staff who works at the University Pediatric Center at Lied (University of Nevada Las Vegas). The Center is staffed by School of Medicine physician residents and students under faculty physician supervision. Most of them are native speakers of English and cannot speak a second language. The Center’s patients are mostly Hispanic children and adolescents, and the need for interpreters during office visits forces residents and doctors to use bilingual personnel (nurses, administrative staff) due to the lack of funding to hire professional interpreters. This situation leads to renditions that are positively or negatively affected by their position in the examination room (small space, too many people), and the projection of their voice (towards the adult accompanying the minor, towards the resident, or towards a wall during exploration). Similar studies have been conducted by Leanza (2007) in terms of the roles of community interpreters in pediatrics; Dubslaff, F. and B. Martinsen (2007) who explore the use of direct versus indirect speech by untrained interpreters, and Merlini, R. & R. Favaron (2007) who apply the notion of voice to the context of interpreter-mediated communication between healthcare professionals and patients. An interesting research to determine the frequency, categories, and potential clinical consequences of errors in medical interpretation was conducted in the US back in 2003 by Flores, G. et al. With this in mind, the present study aims to identify the potential errors/improvements made by the ad hoc interpreters depending not only on their interpreting knowledge, but also and, more importantly, on their position in the room and the projection of their voice. 

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