Spanish interpreters working in health care can often be expected to handle a wide variety of accents and dialects though they may not always be familiar with the specific dialects they are interpreting. Codes of ethics and standards of practice are lacking in solutions that interpreters can employ when working with unfamiliar dialects, outside of recusing themselves from assignments or managing with clarifications (California Healthcare Interpreting Association, 2002; Hernandez-Iverson, 2010; National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, 2004). There is currently little to no research available on medical interpreters’ management of unfamiliar dialects and also limited to no educational opportunities for interpreters to improve these skills.

The objective of this thesis was to survey what dialects of Spanish interpreters are most and least familiar with, as well as to compare the perceptions that interpreters have about how they handle an unfamiliar dialect such as Dominican Spanish. This was done by calculating rate of errors in interpreters’ renditions of a short vignette of a patient-provider appointment in which the patient is a native speaker of Dominican Spanish. This study will examine interpreters’ identification of challenges (demands) when working with Dominican Spanish as well as their potential responses (controls) to see if educational opportunities on cross-dialectal communication are an option that interpreters even consider.

Exit Requirement


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies

Committee Chair

Elisa Maroney

Committee Member

Patricia Giménez Eguíbar

Committee Member

Michelle Pinzl


interpreting, Dominican Spanish, linguistic prestige, cross-dialectal communication


eng; spa

Type (DCMI Terms)

Text; Image; StillImage

Subject Categories

Caribbean Languages and Societies | Language Interpretation and Translation | Spanish Linguistics

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