Skip to main content

Table 1 Overview of consultation characteristics

From: Interpreter-mediated diabetes consultations: a qualitative analysis of physician communication practices

Interview ID Clinician Who interprets Patient Reason for consultation Patient Clinician’s speech style Interpreter’s speech style
Professional interpreter, no family present A Female doctor Female professional interpreter D1 Male patient, 60 yrs Diabetes check-up, and chest/arm pain. Much of the discussion centers on understanding the patient’s chest and arm pain symptoms. Patient speaks no German Clinician always addresses interpreter The interpreter frequently asks the patient additional questions or for clarification before interpreting back to the clinician, in an attempt to provide the doctor with coherent answers to her questions.
D Female doctor (same as E) Female professional interpreter D1 Female patient, 50 yrs Diabetes check-up. The discussion centers on when and how she measures her glucose, and on adjusting her insulin. Patient speaks a little German Doctor most addresses the patient directly. Patient and doctor speak to each other in German; the interpreter only intervenes occasionally to interpret when the patient switched to Turkish or if the patient seemed not to understand the doctor.
E Female doctor (same as D) Female professional interpreter D1 Female patient, 33 yrs Diabetes check-up. The discussion centers on her glucose measurements and how to calculate and adjust her insulin. Patient speaks a little German Doctor mostly addresses patient directly, and is quite empathetic and encouraging. She speaks in lengthy turns, with a lot of numbers. Patient appears to understand at least some German because the interpreter doesn’t bother to translate everything, and sometimes the patient answers (in Turkish) the doctor’s question before it has been translated. The interpreter does a lot of paraphrasing of doctor’s speech.
F Female doctor, and female nurse diabetic educator Female professional interpreter D2 Female patient, 58 yrs Diabetes check-up. The discussion centers on review of her glucose measurements, how to adjust her insulin, and the importance of seeing the dietary counsellor. Patient speaks no German Clinician mostly addresses interpreter Interpreter often uses first person translation for the patient and direct or reported speech for the clinicians.
       The clinician speaks in lengthy turns This is the only consultation where the interpreter intervenes to suggest that the patient may not understand the doctor’s explanations.
Family as interpreter H Female doctor Adult son Husband and wife together, 70 yrs Diabetes check-up. The doctor sees husband and wife together to go over various lab results. Husband and wife both speak a little German Doctor almost exclusively addresses patients directly, but is frustrated by the son who doesn’t translate much. Son answers for parents, rarely translates, and asks his own questions.
G Male doctor Adult daughter Female patient, 60 yrs Results from lung x-ray; diabetes check-up. The discussion centers on the patient’s x-ray results, as well as her diabetes and blood pressure management. Patient speaks a little German Doctor addresses patient directly, but is drawn into conversation with the daughter. Daughter answers for mother, translates only when she cannot answer the doctor’s question herself. She also asks her own questions.
Professional interpreter and family C Female nurse/diabetic educator Female professional interpreter D1 Female patient, 40 yrs, accompanied by her adult daughter Gestational diabetes. The discussion centers on the importance of the patient following her diet plan more closely in order to determine whether or not she needs insulin. Patient speaks no German The clinician starts by addressing the interpreter, but when the daughter jumps in to answer a question for her mother, the clinician then talks only to the daughter. At first the interpreter attempts to translate for the patient what is being said between the clinician and daughter, but is not given the time and eventually becomes silent while clinician and daughter speak for the rest of the consultation.
B Female dietician Female professional interpreter D1 Female patient, 40 yrs, accompanied by her adult daughter (same as in B) Gestational diabetes. The discussion focuses on her dietary plan. Patient speaks no German Clinician speaks directly to the patient, never the interpreter The interpreter tends to summarize the clinician’s lengthy turns. The daughter says nothing during the consultation, and only responds to a question about a next appointment.
        The clinician speaks in lengthy turns