Dialogue interpreting includes what is variously referred to in English as Community, Public Service, Liaison, Ad Hoc or Bilateral Interpreting - the defining characteristic being interpreter-mediated communication in spontaneous face-to-face interaction. Included under this heading are all kinds of professional encounters: police, immigration and welfare services interviews, doctor-patient interviews, business negotiations, political interviews, lawyer-client and courtroom interpreting and so on. Whereas research into conference interpreting is now well established, the investigation of dialogue interpreting as a professional activity is still in its infancy, despite some highly promising publications in recent years. This special issue of The Translator, guest-edited by one of the leading scholars in translation studies, provides a forum for bringing together separate strands within this developing field and should create an impetus for further research.
Viewing the interpreter as a gatekeeper, coordinator and negotiator of meanings within a three-way interaction, the descriptive studies included in this volume focus on issues such as role-conflict, in-group loyalties, participation status, relevance and the negotiation of face, thus linking the observation of interpreting practice to pragmatic constraints such as power, distance and face-threat and to semiotic constraints such as genres and discourses as socio-textual practices of particular cultural communities.
Table of Contents
Dialogue interpreting: Contents
Introduction, Ian Mason, pp 147-160
In this introduction to a special volume on Dialogue Interpreting, guest-edited for The Translator, Ian Mason sets the scene for the collection of articles included in this issue by (a) defining the terms used in the field (dialogue, bilateral, ad hoc, liaison, etc.); summing up the "state of the art", the stage reached in investigating dialogue interpreting in general, and how the specific studies in this volume add to our understanding of the process; and (c) considering new directions in dialogue interpreting research, the as-yet-uncharted areas which are bound to receive attention in years to come, in what is a burgeoning field of research.
The Hospital Cleaner as Healthcare Interpreter. A Case Study, Franz Pöchhacker and Mira Kadric, pp 161-178
Against the background of current hospital interpreting practices in Vienna, the authors present a case study of an authentic therapeutic interaction in which a Serbian-speaking hospital cleaner serves as interpreter in a 47-minute voice therapy and briefing session. Communication between the two speech therapists and the ten-year-old voice patient and his parents from the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia) is described and analysed on the basis of twelve excerpts from the full transcript of the videotaped interaction. The findings show that the untrained ('natural') interpreter clearly fails to maintain a consistent focus on her translatorial role and task and introduces significant shifts in the form as well as the substance of communication. Unaware of the cleaner-interpreter's impact on the interaction, the therapists ultimately lose control over the quality and effectiveness of their professional work.
The Tenor of Consultant Physicians: Implications for Medical Interpreting, Helen Tebble, pp 179-200
Medical interpreting, like many other kinds of community interpreting, requires that not only the content of what speakers say is conveyed, but also the way they say it. On the basis of empirical research, this paper outlines a model of the discourse structure of the interpreted medical consultation. The generic structure of interpreted physicians' consultations with non-English speaking patients consists of eleven stages, the climax being the exposition. It is at the exposition stage that the physician announces his or her findings of the diagnoses and sets up a plan of action for the patient. The extent to which the patient complies with the plan of action (e.g. change of medication) does not depend just on the fact that an interpreter interpreted the consultation, but substantially on the rapport and impact that the physician had on the patient. So conveying accurately the interpersonal elements of what the physician and patient say to each other is crucial. A theoretical framework for analysing the interpersonal metafunction is described and components of this framework are applied to two case studies of the exposition, one in nephrology and the other in hypertension. Enhancing medical interpreters' understanding of how to 'read' the tenor of a physician's consulting style requires a theoretical basis. This paper offers a contribution to the development of such a theory.
Information Loss in Bilingual Medical Interviews through an Untrained Interpreter, Jan Cambridge, pp 201-219
This paper presents research based on discourse analysis of seven extempore simulated consultations between practising General Medical Practitioners and non-English speaking volunteer patients, with language-switching provided by educated but professionally untrained native speakers of the foreign language. The research set out to examine how information is lost to both doctor and patient in the language-switching process. The results highlight the importance of appropriate interlocutor roles being occupied by all parties, as well as the dangers inherent in a lack of common ground within the transaction. The language pair used in the data is English-Spanish, but the results are discussed as applicable by extrapolation to any language pair. The findings highlight the risks to all parties of dysfunctional communications across language and culture. Cross-language communication is shown to be complex, and highly trained doctors' skills blunted by malfunctions in language-switching. Information is lost in such malfunctioning encounters, to the detriment of effective medical practice.
Signs of Injustice, Mary Brennan, pp 221-246
Recent research on court interpreting has demonstrated that interpreters themselves often intrude upon proceedings more than they or other participants realize. Moreover, as in any interpreting, there is always some tension between the nature of the source and target language output. When interpreting occurs not just between two languages, but between two languages with different modalities - spoken and signed - the relationship between source and target texts can be even more complex. This article discusses some of the issues which arise in part because of differences in modality. Special attention is given to the notion of visual encoding in British Sign Language (BSL) whereby BSL incorporates information about the physical world in a more regular way than is typical of spoken languages. This results in dilemmas for the interpreter and potential problems of access to justice for the Deaf person.
Telephone Interpreting and the Synchronisation of Talk in Social Interaction, Cecilia Wadensjö, pp 247-264
The present paper compares telephone interpreting and on-site interpreting in order to investigate the ways in which social interaction in these different interpreting situations is influenced by the setting. Two real-life encounters recorded at a police station are used to illustrate and explore differences in the participants' - including the interpreter's - conversational behaviour. The encounters involved the same participants and concerned the same case. In one encounter, the interpreter communicated by telephone, in the other she was present on site. The on-site exchange was strikingly more fluent, compared to the telephone-interpreted one. The difference is made manifest discursively, for instance in the average length of the participants' turns at talk and in the patterns of overlapping speech. It would appears that a significant difference between the two types of interpreter-mediated encounters lies in the possibilities they provide for the participants to coordinate and to synchronize their collective activity, or interaction.
"Nicole Slapped Michelle". On Interpreters and Theories of Interpreting at the O. J. Simpson Trial, Anthony Pym, pp 265-283
The public perception of court interpreters operates through theories located in discourses both within and around the court. Analysis of interpreting at the 1995 criminal trial of O. J. Simpson shows that such theories are able to explain apparent linguistic shifts in terms of lexical non-correspondence, intralingual discursive coherence, sociocultural bias, variety alignment, a 'user-expectation' principle, the fiction of non-hermeneutic rendition as a mode of professional demarcation, the priority of the cultural component, and various appeals to linguistic and academic expertise. Although all these approaches can provide explanations of apparent shifts, only cost-beneficial theories are found to be successful within the court context. It is concluded that any scholarly intervention in this field should be in terms of theories able to provide explanations adequate to the amount of analytical effort to be invested.
Police Interpreting: Politeness and Sociocultural Context, Alexander Krouglov, pp 285-302
Police interpreting is somewhat unjustly neglected by most recent linguistic studies. As an act of necessary and therefore intense interpersonal and intercultural communication, police interpreting provides an excellent example of the way in which an interpreter deals with colloquialisms and hedges, as well as forms of address and other forms of politeness. This paper is based on the analysis of four short extracts from interviews with Russian witnesses conducted at a police station by English speaking detectives and interpreted by four different interpreters. The findings suggest that interpreters often avoid or change colloquialisms and hedges, which could provide evidence of pragmatic intention. The extracts also confirm that interpreters tend to misrepresent the speaker by introducing more polite forms, which in turn can make the testimony of a witness either less certain or more definite. A brief analysis of some in-group terminology in interpreting is also offered.
The Interpreter on the Talk Show: Analyzing Interaction and Participation Framework, Francesco Straniero Sergio, pp 303-326
This paper analyses dialogue interpreting in the context of the televised talk show. In the first part I examine some basic issues related to broadcast talk. Among these are the television speech context, the distinction between on-screen and off-screen participants, the function of the presenter, the use of language and the goal of communication. In the second part of the article - using a framework which draws on conversational analysis, and taking data from a large corpus of Italian talk shows - I explore how the interpreter's role and identity are interactionally constructed by participants. I argue that the talk show features a greater visibility and involvement of the interpreter in terms of meaning negotiation, topic management and turn-taking behaviour, all of which calls for extra competence as compared to other institutional settings. Finally, I point to the need for research to adopt a sociolinguistic approach in order to gear training to the realities of the interpreting