Stockholm university

Cecilia Wadensjö

About me

  • Interpreter-mediated interaction in various settings – legal, health care, social security, radio, television, etc.
  • Interpreting as a profession and interpreting in professional practices
  • Testing and assessments of interpreters’ competences, interpreter education interpreter teacher education
  • Brokering as everyday activity in multilingual work places and organisations.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • The Routledge Handbook of Public Service Interpreting

    2023. .

    Book (ed)

    The Routledge Handbook of Public Service Interpreting provides a comprehansive overview of research in public service, or community interpreting. It offers reflections and suggestions for improving public service communication in plurilingual settings and provides tools for dealing with public service communication in a global society.

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  • Introduction

    2023. Cecilia Wadensjö, Laura Gavioli. The Routledge Handbook of Public Service Interpreting, 1-14

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  • Managing a discourse of reporting: the complex composing of an asylum narrative

    2022. Cecilia Wadensjö, Hanna Sofia Rehnberg, Zoe Nikolaidou. Multilingua - Journal of Cross-cultural and Interlanguage Communication


    The aim of this study is to demonstrate how the presence of an emerging written record may affect the content of an asylum narrative, based on which a decision concerning the asylum claimant’s right to receive protection eventually is taken. The lion’s share of studies on interpreter-mediated asylum interviews to date focus on risks involved with assigning non-professionals to perform the interpreting. This study draws specifically on a 3.5 min-long sequence taken from an asylum interview involving a professional interpreter, working between Russian and Swedish, and the corresponding paragraph of the Swedish-language written minutes, produced in parallel by the caseworker at a Migration Agency office. The study demonstrates something that hasn’t been highlighted much in the literature on asylum interviews, namely the mutual impact of the interpreter-mediated communicative format—the specific turn taking order and the restricted linguistic transparency—and the parallel record keeping; the intricate passage from two spoken languages to an asylum narrative in the form of a text written in one of these languages.

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  • To re-present a Nobel prize winner

    2020. Elisabeth Geiger Poignant, Cecilia Wadensjö. Multimodal Communication 9 (1)


    This article examines the unfolding of interaction in a growing and, so far, scarcely examined social and cultural practice – interpreter-mediated public literary conversations. In this context, the activity of interpreters, although indispensable when authors and audiences do not share a common language, is sometimes regarded as a “necessary evil” that allegedly causes delays and information loss. Exploring an interpreter-mediated public literary conversation with Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich as a case in point, the focus of this article is rather on what the presence of an interpreter might add to the shared performance on stage. Attention is drawn to the temporal evolvement of the interlocutor’s communicative resources, evident within narrative sequences, drawing on prosody research (Auer, 1999; Couper-Kuhlen, 1999, 2007) and research on gestures (Kendon, e.g. 2000; Streek, 2007; McNeill 2008). The study suggests that, apart from keeping the non-Russian speaking audience updated on content, the interpreter’s rhythmically calibrated performance adds an energizing asset to the event as a whole. The notion of the “coupled turn”, internally hosting gestural and prosodic coherence across topical boundaries and language frame shifts, emerges as a usable unit for the analysis.

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  • Involvement, trust and topic control in interpreter-mediated healthcare encounters

    2018. Cecilia Wadensjö. Communication & Medicine 15 (2), 165-176


    By examining audio-recorded and transcribed, naturally occurring discourse data, this article shows how participants communicate involvement in two interpreter-mediated healthcare encounters. The article demonstrates how the relational exchange in these encounters, each involving a Swedish-speaking care provider, a young mother (one Spanish-speaking and one Russian-speaking) and a professionally trained interpreter, is affected by the way single participants orient to one another as conversational partners. The analysis also shows how primary participants’ orientation towards the interpreter as a conversational partner may have unexpected consequences for the interpreter’s degree of involvement and the participants’ control of conversational topics. Adding to previous studies of interpreter-mediated medical encounters explored as interaction (Wadensjö 1998), this article demonstrates the significance of shared and mutual focus between physicians and patients when it comes to building rapport and mutual trust across language barriers.

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  • Creating Opportunities for Residents to Engage in Social Exchange

    2017. Gunilla Jansson, Cecilia Wadensjö. Multilingual interaction and dementia, 103-132


    In this chapter, by analysing brokering as a set of interactional practices, we  demonstrate how participants – residents and caregivers – who do not share a language are brokered into mutual interaction. Three different settings: a ‘how-are-you’ sequence, a singing and dancing activity, and a recreational activity with the use of a photo are analysed. The excerpts illustrate the challenges as well as the potentials of caregivers’ brokering practices. As our analyses attest, in a linguistically and culturally complex care context involving persons who do not share a common language, brokering can be organised not in a single way, but variously and with different interactional outcomes.

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  • Syntolkning – forskning och praktik

    2016. Jana Holsanova, Cecilia Wadensjö, Mats Andrén.

    Book (ed)

    Vad är syntolkning? Varför är det viktigt med syntolkning? Vad görs för att utveckla syntolkning i Sverige idag? Vad betyder tillgång till syntolkning för personer med blindhet och synnedsättning? Vad kan forskning inom olika områden bidra med för att utveckla syntolkning? Vad kan syntolkning lära oss om mänskligt tänkande, varseblivning och berättande?

    Syntolkning är ett fenomen som har växt i omfattning de senaste åren och berör en stor del av landets befolkning, men är ändå ganska okänt för en bredare allmänhet. Bidragen i denna bok vill förändra detta. Här skriver forskare, utbildare, personer med synnedsättning och blindhet, praktiskt verksamma syntolkar och myndighetsrepresentanter om syntolkning utifrån sina olika perspektiv. Syntolkning är en fråga för kognitionsforskare: Kan människor som aldrig har sett, se saker för sitt inre öga, alltså skapa mentala bilder? Om ja, hur går detta till? Vilka samband finns mellan språk, tänkande och berättande? Syntolkning är en fråga för översättningsvetenskapen: Hur kan man med ord förmedla kommunikation som sker med bilder, gester, minspel, rörelse och ljus? Syntolkning är en fråga om kvalité: Hur tycker brukare av syntolkningstjänster att dessa kan förbättras? Vilken utbildning finns för den som vill utbilda sig i syntolkning? Vilka erfarenheter finns från andra länder?

    Boken är den första i sitt slag i Sverige och Skandinavien. Den vill inspirera till forskning, debatt och utveckling av syntolkning och vänder sig, förutom till forskare, syntolkar, utbildare och syntolksbrukare, även till arrangörer av evenemang, statliga myndigheter och intresseorganisationer, samt till alla med intresse för frågor om tillgänglighet.

    Bokens redaktörer är Jana Holsanova, docent i kognitionsvetenskap vid Lunds universitet, Cecilia Wadensjö, professor i tolkning och översättning vid Stockholms universitet och Mats Andrén, FD i lingvistik, verksam vid Linköpings universitet. Boken sampubliceras av Lunds universitet, Stockholms universitet och Myndigheten för tillgängliga medier (MTM).

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  • Perspectives on role-play: analysis, training and assessments

    2014. Cecilia Wadensjö. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer 8 (3), 437-451


    This paper focuses on the use of simulated interpreter-mediated interaction for the purpose of training interpreter trainers to assess candidate interpreters’ performances. It is based on documentation from a project initiated in 2011, which was designed to use audiorecordings combined with conversation analytical principles and practices, forthe training of examination panel members. The objective of the project was to make examiners reflect on the function and the functionality of role-play as an assessment instrument by looking at the turn-by-turnunfolding of talk in high-stake role-play examination sessions. The project, which can be described as ‘interventionist conversation analysis’, modeled upon what Stokoe (2011, 119) calls the “conversation-analytic role-play method”, will eventually develop into a recurrent training feature in the training of interpreter teachers and assessors.

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Show all publications by Cecilia Wadensjö at Stockholm University