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

Elaine Hsieh, Hyejung Ju, Haiying Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-181
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication
  • Health care
  • Interprofessional perspectives
  • Provider perspective and behavior
  • Teamwork
  • Trust


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