Coping with Nonverbal Communication in Public Service Interpreting with Chinese Immigrants

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Nonverbal communication (NVC) plays a key role in face-to-face interactions. This article explores how nonverbal communication affects interpreter-mediated interactions between Chinese immigrants living in Catalonia and local public service providers. It presents data obtained from a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with public service interpreters and intercultural mediators, and analyses their experience in coping with nonverbal cues that are the potential source of misunderstanding. Special attention is to the examples of the Chinese smile and absence of eye contact. The conclusions discuss the implications that nonverbal communication may have in defining the role and functions of public service interpreters. © 2013 World Communication Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-360
JournalJournal of Intercultural Communication Research
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2013


  • Community Interpreting
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Intercultural Mediation
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Public Service Interpreting


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