Led On Line
Presentazione - About us
Novita' - What's new
Lededizioni Home Page Ricerca - Search
Catalogo - Catalogue
Per contattarci - Contacts
Per gli Autori - For the Authors
Statistiche - Statistics
Cookie Policy
Privacy Policy

An Interactional Perspective on Interpreting as Mediation

Claudio Baraldi


The importance of mediation in dialogue interpreting has been highlighted in a number of recent studies. Franz Pöchhacker has outlined three analytical dimensions to look at interpreting as mediation: (1) linguistic/cultural mediation, including intercultural mediation, is basically a synonym for interpreting; (2) cognitive mediation explains the subjectivity of interpreters; (3) contractual mediation involves facilitation of communication, conflict management and power relations. Pöchhacker advocates a distinction between the cognitive and the linguistic/cultural dimensions of mediation on the one hand, and the dimension of contractual mediation on the other. Empirical analysis of interpreter-mediated interaction can be used as the starting point for understanding the complexity of interpreting as mediation. The analysis of interpreter-mediated interactions in Italian healthcare services evidences: (1) the complex nature of linguistic (or language) mediation; (2) the relationship between language mediation and its cultural forms and contexts; (3) the relationship between language mediation and intercultural mediation; (4) the meaning of language mediation as facilitation of communication; (5) the limitations of interpreting as mediation. This analysis can have important implications for the achievement of higher levels of professionalism in interpreting.


dialogue, facilitation, interaction, language mediation, renditions

Full Text:



Angelelli, Claudia. 2004. Medical interpreting and cross-cultural communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Angelelli, Claudia. 2012. “Challenges in interpreters’ coordination of the construction of pain.” In Coordinating participation in dialogue interpreting, edited by Claudio Baraldi and Laura Gavioli, 251-268. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Angermeyer, Philip Sebastian. 2009. “Translation style and participant roles in court interpreting.” Journal of Sociolinguistics 13(1): 3-28.

Baker, Mona. 2006a. Translation and conflict. A narrative account. London: Routledge.

Baker, Mona. 2006b. “Contextualization in translator- and interpreter-mediated events.” Journal of Pragmatics 38: 321-337.

Bolden, Galina. 2000. Toward understanding practices of medical interpreting: Interpreters’ involvement in history taking. Discourse Studies 2/4: 387-419.

Bush, Baruch Robert, and Joseph Folger. 1994. The promise of mediation: Responding to conflict through empowerment and recognition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Carr, Silvana, Roberts, Roda, Dufour, Aideen, and Dini Steyn (eds.). 1997. The critical link: Interpreters in the community. Papers from the 1st International Conference on Interpreting in Legal, Health, and Social Service Settings. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Corsellis, Ann. 2008. Public service interpreting. The first Steps. Houndmills: Palgrave.

Cronin, David. 2006. Translation and Identity. London: Routledge.

Davidson, Brad. 2000. “The interpreter as institutional gatekeeper: The social-linguistic role of interpreters in Spanish-English medical discourse.” Journal of Sociolinguistics 4(3): 379-405.

Davidson, Brad. 2002. “A model for the construction of conversational common ground in interpreted discourse.” Journal of Pragmatics 34: 1273-1300.

Davitti, Elena. 2013. “Dialogue interpreting as intercultural mediation. Interpreters’ use of upgrading moves in parent-teachers meetings.” Interpreting 15(2): 168-199.

Gavioli, Laura. 2012. “Minimal responses in interpreter-mediated medical talk.” In Coordinating Participation in Dialogue Interpreting, edited by Claudio Baraldi and Laura Gavioli, 201-228. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Gumperz, John. 1992. “Contextualization and understanding.” In Rethinking Context: Language as an Interactive Phenomenon, edited by Alessandro Duranti and Charles Goodwin, 229-253. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gumperz, John, and Jenny Cook-Gumperz. 2009. “Discourse, cultural diversity and communication: a linguistic anthropological perspective.” In Handbook of intercultural communication, edited by Helen Kotthoff and Helen Spencer-Oatey, 13-29. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Hale, Sandra Beatriz. 2007. Community Interpreting. Houndmills: Palgrave.

Heritage, John, and Jeffrey Robinson. 2006. “The structure of patients’ presenting concern: Physicians opening questions.” Health Communication. 19(2): 89-102.

Holliday, Adrian. 2011. Intercultural communication and ideology. London: Sage.

Holliday, Adrian. 2013. Understanding intercultural communication. Negotiating a grammar of culture. London/New York: Routledge.

Hsieh, Elaine. 2007. “Interpreters as co-diagnosticians: Overlapping roles and services between providers and interpreters.” Social Science & Medicine 64: 924-937.

Inghilleri, Moira. 2005. “Mediating zones of uncertainty: Interpreter agency, the interpreting habitus and political asylum adjudication.” The Translator 11(1): 69-85.

Kim, Young Yun. 2001. Becoming intercultural. An integrative theory of communication and cross-cultural adaptation. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Knapp Potthoff, Annelie and Karlfried Knapp. 1987. “The man (or woman) in the middle: Discoursal aspects of non-professional interpreting.” In Analysing Intercultural Communication, edited by Karlfried Knapp, W. Enninger and Annelie Knapp-Potthoff, 181‒211. Berlin/New York/Amsterdam: Mouton De Gruyter.

Lizana, Tona. 2012. “Developing a migrant health policy for Catalonia.” In Inequalities in Health Care for Migrants and Ethnic Minorities, edited by David Ingleby, Antonio Chiarenza, Walter Devillé and Joanna Kotsioni, 82-97. Antwerpen: Garant.

Luhmann, Niklas. 1995. Social systems. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Mason, Ian. ed. 1999. Dialogue interpreting. Special Issue The Translator 5(2).

Mason, Ian. 2005. “Role, positioning and discourse in face-to-face interpreting.” In Interpreting and Translation in Public Service Settings. Policy, Practice, Pedagogy, edited by Raquel de Pedro Ricoy, Isabelle Perez, and Christine Wilson, 52-73. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.

Mason, Ian. 2006. “On mutual accessibility of contextual assumptions in dialogue interpreting.” Journal of Pragmatics 38: 359-373.

Mason, Ian, and Wen Ren. 2012. “Power in face-to-face interpreting events.” Translation and Interpreting Studies 7(2): 233-252.

Merlini, Rafaela. 2005. “Interpreters in emergency wards. An empirical study of doctor-interpreter-patient interaction.” In Interpreting and Translation in Public Service Settings. Policy, Practice, Pedagogy, edited by Raquel de Pedro Ricoy, Isabelle Perez and Christine Wilson, 89-114. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.

Merlini, Rafaela. 2009. “Seeking asylum and seeking identity in a mediated encounter: The projection of selves through discoursive practices.” Interpreting 11(1): 57-92.

Penn, Claire, and Jennifer Watermeyer. 2012. “Cultural brokerage and overcoming communication barriers: A case study for aphasia.” In Coordinating participation in dialogue interpreting, edited by Claudio Baraldi and Laura Gavioli, 269-296. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Pittarello, Sara. 2009. “Interpreter mediated medical encounters in North Italy: Expectations, perceptions and practice.” The Interpreters’ Newsletter 14: 59-90.

Pöchhacker, Franz. 2008. “Interpreting as mediation.” In Crossing Borders in Community Interpreting. Definitions and dilemmas, edited by Carmen Valero-Garces and Anne Martin, 9-26. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Roberts, Roda P., Carr, Silvana F., Abraham, Diana and Aideen Dufour. eds. 2000. The Critical Link 2: Interpreters in the Community. Selected Papers from the Second International Conference on Interpreting in Legal, Health and Social Service Settings. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Ting-Toomey, Stella. 1999. Communication across cultures. New York: The Guilford Press.

Van de Mieroop, Doriern, Bevilacqua, Giovanni and Lotte van Have. 2012. “Negotiating discursive notes: Differences across levels of expertise.” Interpreting 14(1): 23-54.

Verrept, Hans. 2012. “Notes on the employment of intercultural mediator and interpreters in health care.” In Inequalities in Health Care for Migrants and Ethnic Minorities, edited by David Ingleby, Antonio Chiarenza, Walter Devillé and Joanna Kotsioni, 115-127. Antwerpen: Garant.

Wadensjö, Cecilia. 1998. Interpreting as interaction. London: Longman.

Winslade, John, and Gerald Monk. 2008. Practicing narrative mediation: Loosening the grip of conflict. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/lcm-2014-0102-bara


Lingue Culture Mediazioni - Languages Cultures Mediation
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (27/11/2013 n. 380)
Online ISSN 2421-0293 - Print ISSN 2284-1881

Dipartimento di Scienze della Mediazione Linguistica e di Studi Interculturali
Università degli Studi di Milano

Editors-in-Chief: Paola Catenaccio (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Giuliana Garzone (IULM, Milano)
Editorial Board: Marina Brambilla (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Maria Vittoria Calvi (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Gabriella Cartago (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Lidia Anna De Michelis (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Giovanni Garofalo (Università degli Studi di Bergamo) - Dino Gavinelli (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Antonella Ghersetti (Università di Venezia Ca’ Foscari) - Maria Grazia Guido (Università del Salento) - Elena Liverani (IULM, Milano) - Stefania Maci (Università degli Studi di Bergamo) - Andrea Maurizi (Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca) - Chiara Molinari (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Stefano Ondelli (Università degli Studi di Trieste) - Davide Papotti (Università degli Studi di Parma) - Francesca Santulli (Università di Venezia Ca’ Foscari) - Girolamo Tessuto (Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli) - Giovanni Turchetta (Università degli Studi di Milano) - Stefano Vicari (Università degli Studi di Genova)
International Scientific Committee: James Archibald (McGill University, Montreal) - Natalija G. Bragina (Institut Russkogo Jazyka im. A.S. Puškina; RSUH, Mosca) - Kristen Brustad (University of Texas at Austin) - Luciano Curreri (University of Liège) - Hugo de Burgh (University of Westminster) - Giuditta Caliendo (Université de Lille) - Giorgio Fabio Colombo (Nagoya University Graduate School of Law) - Daniel Dejica (Universitatea Politehnica Timisoara) - Anna De Fina (Georgetown University, USA) - Claudio Di Meola, (Sapienza Università di Roma) - Denis Ferraris (Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris) - Lawrence Grossberg (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) - Stephen Gundle (University of Warwick) - Décio de Alencar Guzmán (Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém,  Brasile) - Matthias Heinz (Universität Salzburg) - Rosina Márquez-Reiter (The Open University) - Samir Marzouki (Université de Manouba à Tunis) - (John McLeod, University of Leeds) - Estrella Montolío Durán (Universitat de Barcelona) - M'bare N'gom (Morgan State University, Baltimore) - Christiane Nord (Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences) - Daragh O'Connell (Cork University) - Roberto Perin (York University, Toronto) - Giovanni Rovere (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg) - Lara Ryazanova-Clarke (University of Edinburgh) - Françoise Sabban (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris) - Kirk St.Amant (Louisiana Tech University, University of Limerick/University of Strasbourg) - Paul Sambre (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) - Srikant Sarangi (Aalborg University) - Junji Tsuchiya (Waseda University, Tokyo) - Xu Shi (Zhejiang University)
Section editors: Maria Matilde Benzoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (Modern history) - Paola Cotta Ramusino, Università degli Studi di Milano (Russian linguistics and translation) - Mario de Benedittis, Università degli Studi di Milano (Sociology) - Kim Grego Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giovanna Mapelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Spanish linguistics and translation) - Bettina Mottura, University of Milan (Chinese studies) - Mauro Giacomo Novelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Contemporary Italian literature and culture) - Letizia Osti, Università degli Studi di Milano (Arab studies) - Maria Cristina Paganoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giuseppe Sergio, Università degli Studi di Milano (Italian linguistics) - Virginia Sica, Università degli Studi di Milano (Japanese studies)

Editor of LCM - The Series: Marie-Christine Jullion

Referee List