chapter  9
22 Pages

“I’m there sometimes as a just in case”

Examining role fluidity in healthcare interpreting
WithGeorge Major, Jemina Napier

This chapter explores the complexity of the healthcare interpreter’s role, based on a discourse analysis of naturally-occurring data collected in Australia. We draw on Llewellyn-Jones and Lee’s (2014) Role Space theory, which is a dynamic model designed to capture shifts in interpreter presence and participation, in response to interactional demands, and reflecting what interpreters actually do in situ. The main focus of previous interpreting studies in the health context has typically been on interpretation equivalence and on the discourse management strategies employed by interpreters. These are important and relevant aspects of interpreting, but they alone do not provide a complete picture of the healthcare interpreter’s task. We seek to explore the fluid (moment-by-moment changing) nature of the interpreter’s role, at a very detailed turn-by-turn level, in this high consequence and complex setting. Thus we present a case study analysis of the role of a professional and experienced Australian Sign Language (Auslan)/ English interpreter in a general practice setting.