Interpreter-mediated interaction as a way to promote multilingualism

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While the importance of effective interpreting service and its value in making public services accessible to migrants has been acknowledged in the literature, little attention has been given to the opportunities it provides to speakers of different languages to engage in multilingual talk. In this paper, we analyse interpreter-mediated interactions recorded in public healthcare settings and show that the interpreters’ coordinating work can enhance an interest of the interlocutors in each other perspective and in each other language, which eventually leads to attempts to talk to each other through language switching and mixing. We suggest that besides solving the local problem of rendering communication between speakers of different languages possible, interpreter-mediated interaction creates opportunities of language learning and perspective-taking.


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