Publication details [#57102]

Zimányi, Krisztina. 2013. “Somebody has to be in charge of a session”: On the control of communication in interpreter-mediated mental health encounters. Translation and Interpreting Studies 8 (1) : 94–111.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Interpreting between a minority language speaker or user (a service user or client) and a representative of an authority (service provider) is frequently referred to as Community Interpreting. One of the challenges of such triadic communication between linguistically and culturally diverse participants is to establish who may speak for how long in order to maintain meaningful communication without any loss of information. At first glance, the service provider emerges as the apparent figure of authority, while the client often provides significant input concerning the content of the encounter. Nevertheless, the final responsibility for the information transfer rests with the interpreter. This article reports on how participants of a study conducted in the area of interpreting in mental healthcare in Dublin, Ireland viewed the issue of communication control. Interview respondents of the research, who comprised mental health professionals and interpreters working in mental healthcare, revealed that there is a constantly fluctuating delicate balance regarding the control of the communication flow when an interpreter is involved in an encounter between a service user and a service provider.