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.