Academics
Areas of Study
Dr. Laurie Swabey

Professor of Interpreting
Catherine University
Minnesota

First, Do No Harm – The Case for Specialization in Healthcare Interpretation

Dr. Swabey makes the case for specialized education and credentialing for all ASL-English interpreters who work in healthcare settings. Deaf people identify healthcare as one of the most important settings in which qualified interpreters are needed, as well as the setting in which it is most difficult to obtain a qualified interpreter.

Studies of healthcare interpreting are shedding light on the complexities of working in this setting. Dr. Swabey first describes linguistic challenges in healthcare interpreting, and reports on the discourse features and linguistic strategies that Deaf physicians and interpreters use to mitigate these challenges.

Next, she offers a wider perspective by presenting data from a study on the importance and frequency of the tasks inherent in healthcare interpreting. Finally, she presents data from a study on the work of designated interpreters in healthcare.

Taken together, this evidence illustrates the complexity of healthcare interpreting, which must be realized in the education, credentialing and hiring of interpreters in healthcare.

Lecturer Bio

Professor of Interpreting at St. Catherine University and Director of the CATIE Center, Dr Swabey holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota in Linguistics.

She has served on the advisory boards for the National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare (NCIHC) and the CCHI (Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters).

Recent publications include:

  • An Examination of Medical Interview Questions Rendered in American Sign Language by Deaf Physicians and Interpreters (in Investigations in Healthcare Interpreting, 2014)
  • In our Hands: Educating Healthcare Interpreters (Gallaudet University Press, 2012)
  • Advances in Interpreting Research (Benjamins, 2011).GURIEC is an approved RID sponsor of professional development activities.
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