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Interpreting beyond words: The impact of nonverbal communication on healthcare interpreting standards

  • T&I REVIEW
  • Abbr : tnirvw
  • 2020, 10(1), pp.7-31
  • DOI : 10.22962/tnirvw.2020.10.1.001
  • Publisher : Ewha Research Institute for Translation Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Interpretation and Translation Studies
  • Received : February 28, 2020
  • Accepted : May 30, 2020
  • Published : June 30, 2020

Bruno Echauri Galván 1

1University of Alcalá

Candidate

ABSTRACT

The present paper seeks to underscore the importance of nonverbal cues in the interpreting processes occurring in healthcare settings and to investigate how these are addressed in a sample of guidelines for actual practice. Given the relevance of nonverbal elements in most types of oral communication and the significance of language, paralanguage, and kinesics in face-to-face mediated interactions, it is necessary for interpreters to have or gain solid knowledge on nonverbal cues so that they can be capable of identifying and handling them effectively. In this vein, both medical interpreting standards and working with interpreters’ guidelines tend to address several issues intrinsically related to nonverbal language. However, it is still difficult to find a specific and detailed section that strictly focuses on the relevance of nonverbal communication in these sorts of interactions. In order to delve into the latter assertion, this paper conducts a comparative analysis of different manuals on healthcare interpreting that encompasses several phases: studying their approach to a series of specific nonverbal cues, pinpointing their strengths and weaknesses in this regard, expanding on those aspects that need further exploration, and finally, laying out a list of suggestions that may help improve interpreters’ overall performance in healthcare settings by honing their skills for dealing with nonverbal language.

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