Medical terminology rendition techniques employed by paraprofessional Chin-Hakha <> English interpreters

Salai Biak Za Lian Ching


This paper presents a study of the techniques employed by paraprofessional Chin-Hakha community interpreters when interpreting in a medical setting. Data was collected through a simulated dialogue in which participants were asked to interpret consecutively. Participants were then interviewed about their decision-making processes in formulating renditions of a number of medical terms. Lexical analysis found that Chin-Hakha interpreters produce interpretations of medical terminology according to certain observable patterned constructions. Overall, this study confirms the community interpreter’s role as a ‘negotiator’ of language, where interpreters negotiate the intended meaning of specialised terminology by using their own ‘storeroom’ of linguistic skills and medical knowledge so as to be successful in rendering medical conversations.


Chin-Hakha language, community interpreter, latitude, medical interpreting, terminological/lexical challenges

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