12. Interpreting as dialogic mediation

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Interpreters’ reflexive coordination may promote different forms of mediation. Dialogic mediation, in particular, achieves promotion of active participation, displays sensitivity for the interlocutors’ interests and/or needs, and treats alternative perspectives as reciprocal enrichment. Drawing on a set of healthcare interactions involving Arabic-speaking patients in Italian services, this chapter discusses interpreting actions of mediators included in sequences of dialogic mediation, in particular: (1) promotional questions, which encourage the production of personal narratives and narratives of illness on the part of patients; (2) multi-part expansions, where patients’ stories are co-authored with mediators; (3) renditions as formulations, which focus on patients’ problems, emotions and cultural background and involve healthcare providers in the interactional narrative. Dialogic mediation can be considered a form of negentropic interpretation, in that it provides the opportunity to exercise and recognise personal agency and hybridise different cultural voices.


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