Moving beyond the ‘language problem’: developing an understanding of the intersections of health, language and immigration status in interpreter-mediated health encounters

Teresa Piacentini, Catherine O’Donnell, Alison Phipps, Ima Jackson, Niamh Stack
  • Language and Intercultural Communication, June 2018, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/14708477.2018.1486409

Moving beyond language in health care encounters.

What is it about?

Lots of health encounters happen in places outside of hospitals and doctors practices - many happen in patients' homes. This brings new challenges for both patients and their families and for health care professionals. More and more often there are also language challenges, which need an interpreter present. This work looks at the challenges faced by patients, interpreters and health care professionals in such a situation.

Why is it important?

This is the first paper talking about the challenges - and solutions - that can happen when language and communication issues arise in place other than hospitals and doctors practices. Our findings show that health care professionals need to work with interpreters to ensure the best experience for patients, and that good communication needs to address more than just language.


Kate O'Donnell (Author)
University of Glasgow

As health systems have to meet the needs of more diverse patient populations, I think this is a really important and timely paper which makes us think about how language, health and migrant status all work together to help people have a good - or poor - experience of health care.

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The following have contributed to this page: Kate O'Donnell and Ima Jackson