Interpreter-mediated communication in neuropsychological assessments. Societal needs and communicative potentials

Start - End 
2022 - 2026 (ongoing)



This project uses methods from Discourse analysis (DA) and Conversation Analysis (CA) to investigate interpreter-mediated communication (IMC) in neuropsychological assessments (tests of cognitive performance) and doctor-patient consultations targeting neurological and cognitive disorders (dementia, epilepsy, sleeping disorders). While research shows that migrants benefit considerably from the presence of an interpreter, our understanding of how IMC may help the growing number of migrants receive adequate health care in our linguistically diverse societies is still largely in its infancy. The project addresses this research gap and investigates the impact of IMC on the process and outcome of assessments of cognitive functioning. Studies in CA and DA have shown that interpreters serve not as neutral translating-machines, but that interpretation has considerable effects on the interactive process. The project will examine video-recorded material of interpreter-mediated interactions to investigate (1) how interpreters deal with differences in knowledge (e.g. institutional, cultural, health related) between doctor and patient and to what extent this negotiation of knowledge affects interactive trajectories; (2) how the process and outcome of interpretation may affect the validity of neuropsychological tests and which measures would be suitable to counter such effects; (3) the importance of the interpreter’s role in managing stigmas, in a situation where various threats to the patient’s face seem imminent.