The interpreter’s visibility in dialogue interpreting is a topic that has drawn extensive interest from researchers. Based on observation and recordings of 29 interpreted medical consultations at a hospital in Guangzhou, and replicating work on Spanish/English interpreting by Angelelli, this article analyzes Chinese medical interpreters’ achievement of visibility through text ownership. The dialogues, with interpreting between Chinese and English provided by four staff interpreters at the hospital, were transcribed and examined. Qualitative analysis of the transcriptions shows that the interpreters in some cases established partial or total ownership of the text and, as a result, became visible in the communication. According to how this visibility manifested itself, the medical interpreter’s text ownership can be seen as variously fulfilling four main functions: trying to expedite the drawing of conclusions; redirecting turns; expressing solidarity; and educating the patient. The research also shows that, while the purpose of a medical interpreter’s text ownership in medical encounters is to facilitate communication between the two parties to the dialogue, the visibility s/he gains by laying claim to part or all of a turn may actually prove counterproductive in this respect.
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Cited by 6 other publications
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