Moving beyond the ‘language problem': developing an understanding of the intersections of health, language and immigration status in interpreter-mediated health encounters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

E-pub ahead of print



  • Teresa Piacentini
  • Catherine O’Donnell
  • Alison Phipps
  • Ima Jackson
  • Niamh Stack

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Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage and Intercultural Communication
Early online date18 Jun 2018
StateE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2018


Health systems internationally are dealing with greater diversity in patient populations. However the focus on ‘the language problem’ has meant little attention is paid to diversity within and between migrant populations; and how interpreted consultations are influenced by intersecting migratory, ethnicity and sociodemographic variables. Our analysis of the experiences of patients, health care providers and interpreters in Scotland evidences the need to move beyond language, addressing multiple hidden inequalities in health care access and provision that operate in both clinic and, especially, home-based settings. We call for a practice-evidenced research agenda promoting cultural communication across health care and home settings, acknowledging immigration status as a social determinant of health.


  • migration, health, interpreters

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