8. Minimal responses in interpreter-mediated medical talk

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This chapter looks at minimal responses produced by mediators in healthcare interaction, focussing on items like ‘yes’, ‘no’, echoes, other-completions, and partial repetitions. While such items have traditionally been considered indicators of recipient alignment, they play an essential role in regulating turn taking and pursuing particular interactional goals. The data show that, similarly to what is observed in other types of conversations, mediators’ minimal responses reveal participants’ orientations in the achievement of goal-oriented activities. They also perform translation-coordinating functions such as displaying understanding and acceptance of translation, suspending or shifting into it.


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