Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1384-6647
  • E-ISSN: 1569-982X
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



In video relay service (VRS), the interpreter is the only person who is directly linked to both users of the service, seeing the signing user of a videophone and hearing the speaking user of a telephone. The interaction is especially challenging at the beginning of the call. In this study, 25 authentic recorded calls from the Swedish VRS were analysed using conversation analysis. The aim of the study was to explore and describe in detail how the interpreters facilitate and strive for progression at the beginning of a VRS call. The study findings show how the interpreters provide information to the signing callers about their progress prior to the call being accepted, how the interpreters manage the spoken interaction with the called party on the telephone and how the interpreters connect the parties to each other. It is also shown how the interpreters work to make the deaf callers master a call. The results of the study enrich our current understanding of calls made via VRS.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Bakhtin, M. M.
    (1981) The dialogic imagination: Four essays by MM Bakhtin (M. Holquist, Ed.; C. Emerson & M. Holquist, Trans.). Austin: University of Texas Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Bergman, B. & Nilsson, A.-L.
    (1999) Teckenspråket. InK. Hyltenstam (Ed.), Sveriges sju inhemska språk: Ett minoritetsspråksperspektiv [Sweden’s seven native languages: A minority language perspective]. Lund: Studentlitteratur, 329–339.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Brunson, J. L.
    (2011) Video relay service interpreters: Intricacies of sign language access. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Clark, H. H.
    (1996) Using language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511620539
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620539 [Google Scholar]
  5. Drew, P. & Heritage, J.
    (1992) Talk at work: Interaction in institutional settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Goffman, E.
    (1974) Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Haualand, H. & Nilsson, A. L.
    (2019) Working with active interpreters: A commentary about interpreting terminology and concepts. International Journal of Interpreter Education11 (2), 40–45.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Heritage, J.
    (1997) Conversation analysis and institutional talk: analyzing data. InD. Silverman (Ed.), Qualitative research: Theory, method and practice. London: SAGE, 161–182.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. (2013) Garfinkel and ethnomethodology. Cambridge: Polity Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Hutchby, I. & Wooffitt, R.
    (2008) Conversation analysis. Cambridge: Polity Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Linell, P.
    (1998) Approaching dialogue: Talk, interaction and contexts in dialogical perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/impact.3
    https://doi.org/10.1075/impact.3 [Google Scholar]
  12. (2009) Rethinking language, mind, and world dialogically: Interactional and contextual theories of human sense-making. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Marks, A.
    (2018) Hold the phone!Translation and Interpreting Studies13 (1), 87–109. 10.1075/tis.00006.mar
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tis.00006.mar [Google Scholar]
  14. Palmer, J. L., Reynolds, W. & Minor, R.
    (2012) “You want what on your PIZZA!?”: Videophone and video-relay service as potential influences on the lexical standardization of American Sign Language. Sign Language Studies12 (3), 371–397. 10.1353/sls.2012.0005
    https://doi.org/10.1353/sls.2012.0005 [Google Scholar]
  15. Peterson, R.
    (2011) Profession in pentimento. InB. Nicodemus & L. Swabey (Eds.), Advances in interpreting research: Inquiry and action. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 199–223. 10.1075/btl.99.12pet
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.99.12pet [Google Scholar]
  16. PTS (Post-och telestyrelsen)
    PTS (Post-och telestyrelsen) (2015) Upphandling Bildtelefoni 150215 [Procurement Video Relay Service 150215].
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Roy, C. B.
    (1989) A sociolinguistic analysis of the interpreter’s role in the turn exchanges of an interpreted event. Doctoral dissertation, Gallaudet University.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. A. & Jefferson, G.
    (1974) A simplest systematics for the organization of turn taking for conversation. Language in Society50, 696–735.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Schegloff, E. A.
    (2007) Sequence organization in interaction: Volume 1: A primer in conversation analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511791208
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791208 [Google Scholar]
  20. Sidnell, J. & Stivers, T.
    (2013) The handbook of conversation analysis. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Texttelefoni.se
    Texttelefoni.se (2019) Short information in English. https://texttelefoni.se/short-information-in-english/ (accessed21 August 2020).
  22. Wadensjö, C.
    (1993) The double role of a dialogue interpreter. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology1 (1), 105–121. 10.1080/0907676X.1993.9961204
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.1993.9961204 [Google Scholar]
  23. (1998) Interpreting as interaction. London: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. (2017) Dialogue interpreting and the distribution of responsibility. Hermes: Journal of Language and Communication in Business8 (14), 111–129.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Warnicke, C
    (2017) Tolkning vid förmedlade samtal via Bildtelefoni.net – Interaktion och gemensamt meningsskapande [The interpreting of relayed calls through the service Bildtelefoni.net – Interaction and the joint construction of meaning]. Doctoral dissertation, Örebro University.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Warnicke, C.
    (2018a) The co-creation of communicative projects within the Swedish Video Relay Service (VRS). InJ. Napier, R. Skinner & S. Braun (Eds.), Here or there: Research on interpreting via video link. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press, 210–229.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. (2018b) Tolkning vid förmedlade samtal via Bildtelefoni. InH. Haualand, A.-L. Nilsson & E. Raanes (Eds.), Tolking – språkarbeid og profesjonsutøvelse [Interpreting – language work and professional practice]. Oslo: Gyldendal akademisk, 143–157.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Warnicke, C. & Plejert, C.
    (2012) Turn-organisation in mediated phone interaction using video relay service (VRS). Journal of Pragmatics44 (10), 1313–1334. 10.1016/j.pragma.2012.06.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2012.06.004 [Google Scholar]
  29. (2016) The positioning and bimodal mediation of the interpreter in a video relay interpreting (VRI) service setting. Interpreting18 (2), 198–230. 10.1075/intp.18.2.03war
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.18.2.03war [Google Scholar]
  30. (2018) The headset as an interactional resource in video relay interpreting (VRI). Interpreting20 (2), 285–308. 10.1075/intp.00013.war
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.00013.war [Google Scholar]
  31. (in press). The use of the text function in video relay service calls. Text and Talk.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): interpreting; signed language; telephone; video relay service; videophone; VRS
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error