Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, Vol 1, No 1 (2010)

Cultural Brokerage in Mediated Health Consultations: An Analysis of Interactional Features and Participant Perceptions in an Audiology Context

Claire Penn, Jennifer Watermeyer, Tom Koole, Janet de Picciotto, Dale Ogilvy, Mandy Fisch
Issued Date: 28 Sep 2010


The majority of clinical interviews in South Africa take place across cultural and linguistic boundaries and are often mediated by a third party whose role is little understood. This paper will describe a study undertaken in an audiology clinic to characterise features of cultural brokerage in interpreted audiological consultations. Data included recorded interactions and interviews with participants regarding the interactive process. Six mediated interactions were video-recorded, transcribed, translated and analysed in terms of conversation features, based on Conversation Analysis techniques. Linguistic features which appear to reflect cultural brokerage include the phenomena of elaboration and addition performed by interpreters. Participants had some awareness of these phenomena and of the role of the interpreter as cultural broker, but the data suggest that the function of cultural brokerage is not necessarily an explicit one. This has implications for interpreting practice and we derive suggestions for the role of the cultural broker in health care interactions.

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DOI: 10.1558/jircd.v1i1.135


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