The ‘Face’ Notion and Patient-centred Communication

We recently published Patient-centred Communication by Kayo Kondo. In this post the author explains how face and politeness theory interact with patient-centred communication.

The notion of ‘face’ is central to patient-centred communication. It is very important for healthcare professionals to be able to elicit a patient’s thoughts and concerns and to understand their specific experience of symptoms. Patients have their own ‘life-worlds’, and doctors have their own professional frame of mind. Teasing out clues as to the onset and ongoing manifestation of illness requires trust and rapport; otherwise, the patient would probably swallow their words.

In daily communication, the concept of ‘face’ arises in expressions such as ‘losing face’ (losing the respect of others) or ‘saving face’ (preventing someone from feeling embarrassed). According to Canadian-born sociologist Erving Goffman, ‘face’ as an interactional identity is an East Asian-originated concept introduced by Chinese anthropologist Hu Hsien Chin in 1944. Face has multiple sides, each of which is an ‘image’ the person projects, and it is mutual work. Its role in interactions can be observed in much of Goffman’s study of ‘face-work’. In a similar vein, Japanese philosopher Shinzo Mori powerfully stated: ‘Our whole life is a kind of “face-making” of who we are, so to speak. We spend our whole life finishing the only “face” we have.’

The patient-doctor relationship may be subject to the image that the professional projects and that the patient perceives, and vice versa. Attentive listening can meet the patient’s needs and can avoid the potential for emotional harm to the patient. When the patient feels that the doctor is interested in them as a person and trusts the relationship, the relationship can become a partnership. It can be fair to say that patient-centred communication is well intentioned and materialises when mutual face-needs are supported or when an actual ‘face-threat’ is avoided.

The doctors in this book discuss their ‘inner-self’ as a professional and person. I interviewed them about how and why their communication style with patients has changed. They may try to protect the patient’s face (prevent them from feeling embarrassed), enhance the patient’s face (by acknowledging and accepting), or preserve the patient’s face (by respecting their privacy and preserving the patient’s wish to be independent). The older patients in this book displayed their ‘patient’s face’ in their desire to live independently and demonstrate competence in their daily life through activities such as making meals, gardening, and decision-making. There is a thread that connects the health professional’s and the patient’s respective ‘desires’. Carefully identifying the patient’s face-needs links with acts that seek to establish how much they want to be involved in discussion and decision-making regarding care.

This study is based on fieldwork and concerns face and politeness issues in authentic medical consultations with older patients in Tokyo, and draws attention to cultural variations in Western theories of patient-centred communication. I hope that this book can facilitate communication training for all health professionals and students and increase awareness of the issues of face and politeness in a way that will enhance the experiences of older adults receiving health care and social services.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Providing Health Care in the Context of Language Barriers edited by Elizabeth A. Jacobs and Lisa C. Diamond.

Criando Niños Etiquetados: Discapacidad y bilingüismo en la vida de madres latinxs

In this post María Cioè-Peña, the author of our 2021 book (M)othering Labeled Children, writes about the recently-finished Spanish translation of her book. 

In Eric Alvarez’s 2021 review of my book, (M)othering Labeled Children (MLC), they wrote that MLC “will undoubtedly be an asset to researchers, policymakers, and teachers interested in bilingual education, disability studies, and special education.” I happily read on as Alvarez noted something that was important to me throughout the development of this manuscript: I wanted to produce a rich, complex, and jargon-free book accessible to teachers and service providers who may not be familiar with these mothers’ experiences and, simultaneously, had the capacity to enact change within their classrooms and institutions. However, Alvarez also noted that while MLC was accessible to some, by being available in English only, it ultimately alienated the families whose stories it tells adding that:

“to expand the book’s reach to the very people to whom it gives a voice, a future translation project into Spanish could be considered. If not, it seems that it will only perpetuate the marginalization of Latinx mothers…”

This perpetuation of marginalization through scholarship is an issue that I have raised in my own work, most notably in From Pedagogies to Research where I put forth a need to engage in culturally sustaining research practices that included “ensuring that participant communities have access to the knowledge they helped produce [… and] that the work is published in modes that are accessible and available to participants.” Within that piece I also shared that we should not “place fault solely on researchers, particularly researchers of color, who are bound to the ideology of ‘publish or perish’ to advance their careers.[…] experience[ing] pressure to disseminate their research products in prestigious venues over those that might directly benefit the communities they work alongside.” Which brings me to a guarded, but important, truth: I wrote MLC because my advisors demanded it of me, for the sake of my career and this content. I wrote MLC for professional growth, both mine and that of Emergent Bilingual Learners Labeled as Dis/abled (EBLAD)s’ teachers and service providers. Still, I knew that I wanted a translation to exist for the women who shared their stories, the parents navigating schooling experiences with their EBLADs today, and for the people who poured into me throughout my life (i.e. my Spanish-using aunts, uncles, and cousins) but especially, my own mother.

In late 2020, once the final manuscript for MLC was submitted, I identified and hired a translator, Pedro Guzmán. As much as we wanted the Spanish release to coincide with the English one, that wasn’t possible as we continued navigating work/life amid a pandemic. Alvarez’s review did not reach me until June 2022 but I am grateful for it because it motivated us to finish and on July 1st Criando Niños Etiquetados: Discapacidad y bilingüismo en la vida de madres latinxs became available for FREE. Parents can download a PDF, EPUB, or MOBI version straight from their phones. Ultimately, this translation was a labor of love: my amazing translator Pedro Guzmán refused to take payment, which removed all overhead costs, and the first reader was my mother who, while undergoing cancer treatment at the time, said she felt like it reflected so much of her experience. Her reading it and feeling seen was/is a gift.

I hope Criando Niños Etiquetados will help other parents and families of EBLADs feel seen.

You can access Criando Niños Etiquetados here.

The original English language text (M)othering Labeled Children is available on our website.

Language Transfer: History, Translation and Metalinguistic Awareness

This month we are publishing Explorations of Language Transfer by Terence Odlin. In this post the author discusses the book’s main themes.

Readers of Explorations of Language Transfer will notice several recurring themes, themes that have long seemed to me important for the study of transfer. I’d like to offer some remarks on three of those topics here: history, translation, and metalinguistic awareness.

History

Chapter 2 of the book examines parts of the challenging trail left by nineteenth century thinkers including Wilhelm von Humboldt, Hugo Schuchardt and Aaron Marshall Elliott. Space did not allow a discussion of certain other thinkers from that time who also wrote about bilingualism, such as the Italian historical linguist G.I. Ascoli. If I ever have the chance, I would like to read more about his analysis of how transfer might be manifest in linguistic variation across space and time. Furthermore, I suspect that interesting discussions of transfer go back before the nineteenth century, but if so, the trail may prove a little harder to explore.

Translation

Chapter 7 focuses on translation and transfer. The ongoing refinements in machine translation, one of the topics in this chapter, should be taken seriously by teachers and researchers even while professionals will do well in advising their students to distrust uncritical reliance on translation software. Yet machine translation is not the only area of interest. In the same chapter, I also consider the efforts of a Victorian translator named Mary Howitt who, despite her keen interest in Scandinavian literature, did not always succeed in accurately interpreting the work she undertook. Her translation errors often suggest negative transfer in her reading comprehension. Howitt is probably far from alone in the history of less-than-satisfactory translation, but there does not seem to be much detailed research investigating such cases. This domain, then, may well deserve more exploring.

Metalinguistic awareness

Our awareness of language, often called metalinguistic awareness, proves important in learning a new language, and it interacts with transfer in diverse ways. Without such awareness we could not compare anything in one language with anything in another, nor could we ask for definitions, let alone translate individual words or entire sentences. Even so, individuals vary considerably in how they use such awareness and in how they develop it further. Chapter 8 considers, among other things, successful attempts to foster such awareness. For example, raising consciousness about crosslinguistic similarities and differences has proven effective for helping learners recognize words that are real yet not obvious cognates. The attempts discussed did not involve French, but I think back to my own experiences with high school French and imagine how helpful it could have been if we beginners had gotten a little guidance in recognizing consistent formal relations in pairs such as côte/coast, fête/feast, and pâté/paste. Pairs of this sort also make a good case for why language teachers should have some knowledge of historical linguistics including sound changes.

I naturally hope that readers of Explorations of Language Transfer will find the themes outlined here worth reading about in greater detail, and I also hope that the book will inspire readers to engage in their own explorations of the similarities and differences between languages that can intrigue as well as challenge any learner.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Crosslinguistic Influence and Distinctive Patterns of Language Learning edited by Anne Golden, Scott Jarvis and Kari Tenfjord.

Figures of Interpretation

This month we published Figures of Interpretation edited by B.A.S.S. Meier-Lorente-Muth-Duchêne. In this post the editors explain how the book came about.

The idea behind this book originated from a research project the four of us conducted collectively. We worked together at the Institute of Multilingualism, University of Fribourg, on the research project “A Web of Care. Linguistic resources and the management of labor in the healthcare industry” funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. As part of this project, we collectively conducted fieldwork at a university hospital in Switzerland where we encountered many people who interpreted, ranging from medical doctors, cleaners, professional medical interpreters, technicians, secretaries, mothers, brothers, daughters and sons.

This experience was our inspiration for Figures of Interpretation. We learned how people who interpret came in many guises and were first-hand witnesses to structural oppression, exploitation and disenfranchisement, as well as resilience and hope. We realized that they were figures whose lives revealed larger historical and structural processes through the singularity of their individual trajectories. We wanted to know more about them. We felt that what we experienced was not unique to the particular site and situation we were exploring. We were convinced that such figures have existed for a long time, in various places, with diverse valuation process. We started to think of papers we had read from colleagues who – without framing their analysis in terms of figures of interpretation – provided glimpses of the trajectories of such figures. We recalled conversations with friends and scholars who could have been those figures themselves or who encountered them in their own fieldwork. We imagined situations and moments when people we knew could have met figures of interpretation without necessarily looking at them as such. Progressively, the book took shape in terms of content, and we believed that bringing those experiences together in a volume could allow us to engage in a wider debate about what interpreting does and what it means.

But we also thought a lot about how to grasp these figures, how to talk and write about their lived experiences. The issue of writing about these figures coincided with our own trajectories in academia. We were a bit fed up with the canon we were socialized into, and slightly disillusioned by the limitations we imposed on ourselves and that were imposed to us by academia. We wanted to explore something else without necessarily knowing where it would lead us, nor if this was the right way to do. But we were excited to try it out. The idea of vignettes, of written portraits emerged and we gave it a first go with a couple of figures we encountered in our fieldwork. We realized that writing these short texts was not only challenging, but also forced us to look at the trajectories and the practices of the interpreters in a different way, giving space for a certain type of narration that fully endorses the interpretative dimension of figures of interpretation. Then we envisioned what the book could become if the people we had in mind would participate in such an adventure. We were fortunate enough that most of the colleagues and friends we contacted were enthusiastic about this idea, accepting with joy, excitement, fears and doubts. Many wrote the texts outside of their paid hours, or away from what might be immediately measurable in their professional lives. Many felt happy to have fewer constraints. All were open to doing something different(ly): either by stepping out of the constraints of academic writing, or by engaging with an academic audience for the very first time.

And here we are. Neither the contents nor the format of this book corresponds to academic standards. Instead of showcasing methodological innovations or discussing theoretical paradigms, this collection of 31 portraits invites readers to be conscious of their own interpretations, aware of the editor’s decisions of order and their necessary arbitrariness and attentive to the illustrations that themselves follow their own line of interpretation. This book is also an interpellation on the fundamentally collective dimension of knowledge production. Each portrait constitutes a piece of a complex puzzle. We need Sandra, Quintus, Conrad, Bintou, Ilona, Aïcha and all the other figures to grasp what interpreting is and what it does. And we need Kathleen, Aneta, Carlos, Arnaldo, Biao, and all the other authors of this book to guide us towards a better understanding of the manifold challenges interpretation as a social practice entails. This collection welcomes the readers to participate, see differences and make their own connections.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Decolonising Multilingualism by Alison Phipps.

Translation and the Interplay between Society, Ideology and Power

This month we published Translation and Global Spaces of Power edited by Stefan Baumgarten and Jordi Cornellà-Detrell. In this post the editors tell us what to expect from the book.

Translation is a key process in the circulation of values and ideas across languages and cultures. Translation is a key site of cultural production and contestation, it is a space where values and ideas are constantly challenged and manipulated, adopted or discarded. It is, therefore, a privileged platform from which to examine the interplay between society, ideology and power.

The contributions in Translation and Global Spaces of Power show that the crosscultural struggle over values and ideas is reflected in sectors as diverse as political journalism, elite sports, marketing or the film industry. The heavy reliance on translated texts in a huge variety of political, cultural and economic domains further highlights the need to investigate the importance and effects of translation in relation to social and historical developments.

Our volume presents a number of contemporary and historical case studies which examine how translators and institutions participate in the creation and circulation of knowledge and, importantly, the ways in which they can promote social and economic sustainability.

The intertwined logic of capitalist and technological evolution has, especially in the past few decades, become an unquestioned value which threatens social cohesion and environmental sustainability. It is essential, therefore, to examine how translational practices can develop new ways of representing individuals, communities and cultures and how this crosscultural practice can be harnessed to promote sustainability and social justice.

Translators and the institutions they work for have often been induced, whether explicitly or not, to comply with hegemonic rules and values, particularly in areas where political and economic interests are at stake. They can, however, also produce resistant and subversive translations which challenge the status quo and contribute to social justice.

Translation and Global Spaces of Power demonstrates that translation boasts both enormous liberating and democratizing potential, but that it can also be used to exacerbate and justify inequalities.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Ideology, Ethics and Policy Development in Public Service Interpreting and Translation edited by Carmen Valero-Garcés and Rebecca Tipton.

 

International Translation Day 2018

The winning design for the 2018 ITD poster by Riccardo D’Urso from http://www.fit-ift.org

On Sunday it was International Translation Day – a day to celebrate “the role of language professionals in connecting nations and fostering peace, understanding and development”.

Last year, after a period of time without a dedicated, active translation series, we launched a new series: Translation, Interpreting and Social Justice in a Globalised World. The books in this series address translation and interpreting in settings of diversity, globalisation, migration and asylum, and discuss how translation and interpreting practices (or their absence) may advance or hinder social justice. There are now two published books in the series, with the third out later this month and further titles in the pipeline. Here’s a look at the first three books in the series:

Ideology, Ethics and Policy Development in Public Service Interpreting and Translation

Edited by Carmen Valero-Garcés and Rebecca Tipton

This collection of new research on public service interpreting and translation (PSIT) focuses on ideology, ethics and policy development. It provides fresh perspectives on the challenges of developing translation and interpreting provision in service contexts and on the tensions between prescribed approaches to ethics and practitioner experience.

Translating for the Community

Edited by Mustapha Taibi

This book offers rich insights into the practice of community translation. Chapters outline the specific nature and challenges of community translation, quality standards, training and the relationship between community translation as a professional practice and volunteer or crowd-sourced translation.

Translation and Global Spaces of Power (due October 2018)

Edited by Stefan Baumgarten and Jordi Cornellà-Detrell

This book focuses on the role of translation in a globalising world. Chapters explore the ways in which translation is subject to ideology and power play and focus on contextual and textual factors, ranging from global, regional and institutional relations to the linguistic, stylistic and rhetorical implications of translation decisions.

 

Other recent translation titles include:

New Insights into Arabic Translation and Interpreting

Edited by Mustapha Taibi

This book addresses translation and interpreting with Arabic either as a source or target language. It focuses on new fields of study and professional practice, such as community translation and interpreting, and offers fresh insights into the relationship between culture, translation and interpreting.

Fast-Forwarding with Audiovisual Translation

Edited by Jorge Díaz Cintas and Kristijan Nikolić

This book shows some of the ways in which audiovisual translation (AVT) can be approached from an academic, professional and educational point of view. The studies provide a stimulating and thought-provoking account of some of the themes that are currently being researched in the field of AVT, while also highlighting new directions of research.

For more information about the Translation, Interpreting and Social Justice in a Globalised World series please see our website.

The Rise and Rise of Audiovisual Translation

We recently published Fast-Forwarding with Audiovisual Translation edited by Jorge Díaz Cintas and Kristijan Nikolić. In this post the editors discuss how the field of audiovisual translation has changed over time and how their new book contributes to the conversation.

Croatia, the native land of Kristijan, belongs to the group of the so-called subtitling countries, whereas Spain, from where Jorge hails, is firmly rooted in the practice of dubbing. Or so some used to say, as changes in the field of audiovisual translation have taken place so fast in the last decades that such neat, clear-cut distinctions are difficult to justify these days. Everything seems to be in flux.

Technological advancements have had a great impact on the way we deal with the translation and distribution of audiovisual productions, and the switchover from analogue to digital technology at the turn of the last millennium proved to be particularly pivotal. In the age of digitisation and pervasiveness of the internet, the world has become smaller, contact across languages and cultures has accelerated and audiovisual translation has never been so prominent. VHS tapes have long gone, the DVD came and went in what felt like a blink of an eye, Blu-rays never quite made it as a household phenomenon and, in the age of the cloud, we have become users of streaming, aka OTT (over the top) distribution, where the possession of actual physical items is a thing of the past. We now rely on video-on-demand and watch audiovisual productions in real time, ‘over the screen’, without the need to download them to our computer, thanks to the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Iflix to name but a few. And, as a matter of fact, most of the programmes come accompanied by subtitles and dubbed versions in various languages, with many also including subtitles for the deaf and the hard-of-hearing and audio description for the blind and the partially sighted. Never before has translation been so prominent on screen.

The collection of chapters in our new book, written by authors from a panoply of countries, offers a state of the art overview of the discipline and practice of audiovisual translation that goes to show how much we have moved on from those analogue days. With the title of this book, Fast-Forwarding with Audiovisual Translation, we have tried to convey that feeling of rapid movement so characteristic of this professional practice, where nothing stands still. Though irremediably a snapshot of the present, the various contributions therein also embrace some of the changes taking place nowadays and announce some of the ones looming ahead. From cognitive approaches to AVT, including experiments with eyetracking, to the translation of cultural references and humour, and to the use of subtitling in language learning, the book will take readers through fascinating new findings in this field.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Jorge Díaz Cintas’ 2009 book, New Trends in Audiovisual Translation

The Under-researched Area of Community Translation

This month we published Translating for the Community edited by Mustapha Taibi. In this post the editor discusses the origins of the book and the under-researched areas of the field it aims to address.

The idea of this book came out of the first International Conference on Community Translation, held at Western Sydney University in September 2014. The conference followed the creation, in 2013, of the International Community Research Group. These initiatives were responses to insufficient research activities and publications in the area of Community Translation (also known as Public Service Translation in some parts of the world).

Rather than publish conference proceedings, we decided to publish a volume of selected contributions, both by scholars who were able to make it to the conference and others who were not. Thus the book includes the contributions of two plenary speakers (Dorothy Kelly and Harold Lesch), conference papers that were developed further (by Ignacio García, Leong Ko, Jean Burke, and Carmen Valero and Raquel Lázaro), and contributions by scholars interested in Community Translation who did not attend the conference (Brooke Townsley and Alicia Rueda-Acedo). In my case, as conference organiser, although I did not participate with a paper, I felt I needed to contribute with a chapter on “Quality Assurance in Community Translation”, a central issue in translation and interpreting in general, and in Community Translation in particular.

The contributions were reviewed separately by two reviewers each (please see the list of reviewers in the acknowledgements section of the book), then the entire book was reviewed by anonymous reviewers invited by the publisher, as well as by the editors of the series Translation, Interpreting and Social Justice in a Globalised World, Philipp Angermeyer (York University, Canada) and Katrijn Maryns (Ghent University, Belgium). A big thank you to everybody involved!

The volume is a small contribution to an under-researched area of study. It covers a number of issues relating to Community Translation, which are at the same time local and global:

– What the situation of Community Translation is in different parts of the world, and what common issues emerge from local descriptions (e.g. Australia, Spain, South Africa, UK);

– How to frame and understand Community Translation and its social mission (empowerment of disempowered groups);

– How to ensure quality and empower communities through a type of translation work that is not sufficiently regulated and does not receive the policy and research attention it deserves;

– How to design and logistically organise training courses in Community Translation given the linguistic diversity of minority groups and the financial challenges surrounding the decisions of education providers;

– How to create links between universities and other education providers, on one hand, and relevant government and non-government organisations and community bodies, on the other, for more community engagement, civic awareness and societal impact of (translation) training and professional practice;

– How to integrate new technologies and the work of volunteers to expedite production and access without impacting the quality and effectiveness of community translations.

As noted in the editor’s concluding remarks, a number of research lines and topics within the area of Community Translation remain unmapped or insufficiently addressed. The nature of Community Translation also triggers a need for interdisciplinary research that combines efforts from fields such as language policy, public service, social marketing, sociolinguistics, healthcare, immigration, social services, education, human rights, etc. I would be delighted to see other scholars building on this humble contribution and moving forward.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Ideology, Ethics and Policy Development in Public Service Interpreting and Translation edited by Carmen Valero-Garcés and Rebecca Tipton.

Public Policy Development in Translation and Interpreting Studies

We recently published the first book in our new series Translation, Interpreting and Social Justice in a Globalised World, entitled Ideology, Ethics and Policy Development in Public Service Interpreting and Translation edited by Carmen Valero-Garcés and Rebecca Tipton. In this post the editors introduce us to the main themes of the book.

As the 21st century advances, Public Service Interpreting and Translation (PSIT) services are increasingly positioned at the service of conflict resolution in different contexts, while at the same time being locked in their own struggle for professional recognition. This edited volume builds on our experiences as educators, researchers and practitioners as well as on the FITISPos Conference series in Public Service Interpreting and Translation held at the University of Alcalá, Madrid, and in particular the 2014 Conference which revisited topics related to ethics and ideology in situations of conflict.

The collection illuminates emerging challenges for PSIT in statutory and non-statutory services generated by violent conflict, population displacement and migration, inter alia, gender-based violence, human rights violations and mental health trauma. These challenges raise questions as to the nature of the ethical and ideological frameworks within which interpreters and translators operate, the extent to which they shape such frameworks, and the role of states and institutions in acknowledging and responding to human need and human rights, against a backdrop of shifting political, social and legal landscapes.

The chapters explore the evolving nature of ethics and ideology in a range of settings, and their implications for PSIT service organization, perception and delivery. They make a timely contribution to discussions on public policy development in translation and interpreting studies (see also González Núñez and Meylaerts (eds) 2017).

The volume promotes research involving inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional approaches in order to appeal to communities of public service interpreting and translation, communities of research and practice, intercultural communication services and key stakeholders in policy development. The intended readership is therefore broader than the constituency of PSIT alone and extends to anyone interested in multicultural societies.

The volume is divided into two parts; the first, titled ‘(Re-)defining Concepts and Policy Contexts’ provides historical and contemporary perspectives on ideology in the development of interpreting at the service of state bodies and institutions. The chapters explore ideologies of recruitment, positioning, discourses of professionalization, PSIT and the democratic process, and the ethics and politics of recognition. The chapters are underpinned by theoretical frameworks that highlight political science as an increasingly important inter-discipline.

Part 2 titled ‘Experiences From the Field’ brings together contributions on interpreting in settings such as courtrooms, correctional facilities and in the pre-trial phases of criminal investigation. It focuses on interpreter mediation with asylum seekers, refugees and trauma survivors, drawing on case studies and survey-based studies. Ethical and ideological perspectives are foregrounded through a spotlight on issues of access to justice in correctional facilities and rehabilitation for limited proficiency speakers. Interlingual communication is theorized in particular through rights-based discourses.  The chapters offer new insight into different types of legal events in the European context and bring a fresh perspective on the use and training of interpreters in Europe and the United States.

We hope that the volume opens up useful discussion between educators, interpreting practitioners and key public service and community stakeholders with a view to developing coherent policy approaches to PSIT across domains and settings.

References:

González Núñez Gabriel and Reine Meylaerts (eds) (2017) Translation and Public Policy: Interdisciplinary perspectives and case studies, London and New York: Routledge.

For more information about this book, please see our website

How can we overcome language barriers in health care?

This month we published Providing Health Care in the Context of Language Barriers edited by Elizabeth A. Jacobs and Lisa C. Diamond. In this post the editors tell us about the inspiration behind the book and what we can expect from reading it.

Have you ever had to seek health care in a country where you did not speak the language? Have you ever thought about what the experiences of the patient, care provider and, if present, interpreter are?

As immigration continues and grows across the globe, this has become a frequent experience for patients around the world. Many patients and their health care providers have to communicate across a language barrier, often in collaboration with an interpreter, formal or informal. In this situation, patients’ needs may not be understood or met because of lack of adequate communication. The nature and complexity of language barriers in health care vary within and across nations due to the culture and political nature of the nation and/or the linguistic groups seeking health care in those countries. With this diversity of contexts comes a need for diverse approaches to overcoming language barriers in health care. The goal of our book is to provide a collection of chapters describing these different approaches, their advantages and disadvantages, and special issues which need to be considered in particular contexts or linguistic groups.

This edited volume provides an excellent overview of the global challenge health care providers and linguistically diverse patients face when they seek health care in settings where it is delivered in a language other than their own. The contributing authors provide a diverse set of insights into these challenges and means for overcoming them and highlight how the likely best solutions to the problem of language barriers in health care vary depending on where you are in the world, what means of overcoming them are available, how policy shapes or does not shape these solutions, and the culture, language, and language abilities of the patients being served. They also provide a number of practical ideas and recommendations as to how to address these challenges, from how to work effectively with informal interpreters to developing a means for measuring physician language proficiency. These recommendations sometimes conflict, indicating that, while the challenge is consistent and global, the means for addressing language barriers in health care settings are varied and context-dependent.

We hope you find valuable evidence for the diversity of linguistic needs in the health care setting around the world in this book and that it serves you as an important resource for understanding this increasing global challenge, the different means for addressing it, and issues that must be addressed when developing solutions.

Patients worldwide deserve to be heard and understood and we hope this work helps make this happen.

For more information about this book, please visit our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Medical Discourse in Professional, Academic and Popular Settings edited by Pilar Ordóñez-López and Nuria Edo-Marzá and Ideology, Ethics and Policy Development in Public Service Interpreting and Translation edited by Carmen Valero-Garcés and Rebecca Tipton.