Cecilia Wadensjö

Professor i tolkning och översättning

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at The Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism
Telephone 08-16 47 26
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 D
Room D 548
Postal address Institutionen för svenska och flerspråkighet 106 91 Stockholm

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
  • 2018. Cecilia Wadensjö.
  • 2020. Laura Gavioli, Cecilia Wadensjö. Health Communication

    The lay perception of those who work with interpreters in their professional conversations (and sometimes of interpreters themselves) is that translation of what they and their patients/clients say should be as close as possible. The very idea of close translation may seem simple, but the practice of rendering spontaneous talk-in-interaction as close as possible is quite complex, and requires much more from the mediator than textually close renditions. In this paper, we discuss what is involved in the accomplishment of close rendering in talk. We focus on question-answer sequences with clinicians and patients, when details about the patients’ history and their symptoms are collected. We show that meaning is achieved and rendered through processes that may go rather beyond the single words and utterances and that involve the contribution of all the interlocutors. We show three types of sequences taken from a collection of authentic data audio-recorded in health care services in Italy and transcribed to allow for analysis. The sequences show three different forms of talk, found in the data, where participants pursue close, precise rendition of medical details. The analysis highlights that the Italian intercultural mediators (just like those trained and assigned as public service interpreters in other countries), even in these cases which are peculiarly focused on precise details, do need to take responsibility not only for translating the textual items but also for coordinating turns at talk. It is responsible turn-coordination which leads to rendering meaning closely.

  • 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.

  • 2019. Cecilia Wadensjö, Judith Chrystal. Klassrumsforskning och språk(ande), 43-60

    I denna artikel redogör vi för några utmaningar som parterna ställs inför i kartläggningssamtal med nyanlända elever där flerspråkig skolpersonal fått i uppdrag att tolka. Analyser av transkriberade och översatta sekvenser ur fem videoinspelade samtal visar att den flerspråkiga skolpersonalens pedagogiska kompetens i mycket liten utsträckning utnyttjas under samtalen och att deras avsaknad av tolkkompetens kan begränsa elevens möjligheter att visa sina kunskaper. Det får konsekvenser inte enbart i form av att elevens svar kan komma att återges på ett missvisande sätt utan även genom att kartläggarens samspel med eleven påverkas.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 2016. Jana Holsanova, Cecilia Wadensjö, Mats Andrén.

    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).

  • 2015. Cecilia Wadensjö. Handbook of Pragmatics Online
  • 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.

Show all publications by Cecilia Wadensjö at Stockholm University

Last updated: September 17, 2020

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