Edited by Heidi Salaets and Geert Brône
[Benjamins Translation Library 149] 2020
► pp. 77–105
Chapter 3. Remote interpreting in dialogic settings
A methodological framework for investigating the impact of telephone and video interpreting on quality in healthcare interpreting
Just as remote communication by telephone and through the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives and professional environments, it has also gained a firm footing in the practice of interpreting. In medical settings, remote interpreting is increasingly being welcomed as a means to enable better access to healthcare and increased cost-efficiency. Studies on healthcare interpreting over the telephone or by video link have generated predominantly positive results concerning the use of remote modes of interpreting. However, most of these studies originate from medical science and measure user satisfaction with the interpreting mode (face-to-face, telephone interpreting or video interpreting) rather than the possible impact of the different modes on interpreting quality. In interpreting studies, empirical research investigating remote interpreting in medical settings is scarce, but studies on remote interpreting in settings such as conference, business and legal interpreting indicate that the remote conditions are at the very least perceived by users to influence the interpreter’s performance and the communication.
In this chapter, we introduce a methodological framework for a systematic assessment of the quality of remote interpreting and the effectiveness of the communication in dialogic healthcare settings, drawing on methods from both interpreting studies and medicine. Central to the research design is a corpus of simulations of interpreter-mediated doctor – patient encounters, performed in the modes face-to-face, telephone and video interpreting. These simulations were submitted to a comparative, multi-modal analysis, the results of which were triangulated with the subjective assessment by the participants.
We will first touch upon research issues and caveats relevant to remote healthcare interpreting, emerging from medical studies and interpreting studies. Subsequently, the research design of the present study will be elaborated, followed by a discussion of the preliminary findings of the first series of simulations. Although the data analysis is work in progress, the first outcomes suggest that the use of technology in interpreter-mediated health care impacts mostly on the interactional dynamics of the communication.