Dimensions of trust: the tensions and challenges in provider--interpreter trust

Qual Health Res. 2010 Feb;20(2):170-81. doi: 10.1177/1049732309349935. Epub 2009 Oct 13.


In this study we examined the challenges to providers' and interpreters' collaboration in bilingual health care. We conducted in-depth interviews and focus groups with 26 medical interpreters (speaking 17 languages) and 32 providers (from four specialties) in the United States to provide an empirically based framework of provider-interpreter trust. Constant comparative analysis was used for data analysis. We identified four dimensions of trust, theoretical constructs that can strengthen or compromise provider-interpreter trust: interpreter competence, shared goals, professional boundaries, and established patterns of collaboration. In this article we describe how these dimensions highlight tensions and challenges that are unique in provider-interpreter relationships. We conclude with practical guidelines that can enhance provider-interpreter trust, and propose future research directions in bilingual health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multilingualism*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Trust*
  • United States
  • Young Adult