1st Edition

Triadic Exchanges Studies in Dialogue Interpreting

Edited By Ian Mason Copyright 2001
    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    220 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Dialogue interpreting is a generic term covering a diverse range of fields of interpreting which have in common the basic feature of face-to-face interaction between three parties: the interpreter and (at least) two other speakers. The interaction consists of spontaneous dialogue, involving relatively short turns at talk, in two languages. It is usually goal-directed in the sense that there is some outcome to be negotiated.

    The studies in this volume cover several different fields: courtroom interpreting, doctor-patient interviews, immigration interviews, etc., and involve a range of different languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, More and Austrian Sign Language. They have in common that they view the interpreter as just one of the parties to this three-way exchange, in which each participant's moves can affect each other participant and thus the outcome of the event.

    In Part I, new research directions are explored in studies which piece together evidence of the ways dialogue interpreters actually behave and the effects of their behaviour. This is followed by two studies which discuss traditional interpreter roles - the 'King's Linguist' in Burkina Faso and the Oranda Tsûji, official interpreters employed in isolationist eighteenth-century Japan to ensure contact with the outside world. Finally, issues involved in training are the subject of two chapters relating to Austria and the UK. The variety of aspects and approaches represented in the volume - linguistic, cultural, pragmatic, historical - offer a rich and fascinating overview of the field of dialogue interpreting studies as it now stands.

    Introduction, Ian Mason, pp i-vi


    Transcription Conventions, p vii




    Interpreting Expert Witness Testimony: Challenges And Strategies, Cynthia Miguélez, pp 3-19
    One of the most challenging assignments a court interpreter faces is interpreting for expert witnesses. Advances in science and technology over the last few decades and the 'beyond a reasonable doubt' standard have made the use of expert witnesses from a wide variety of fields a common practice in American courtrooms. It has generally been assumed that the testimony of an expert witness is challenging substantively but not formally. Preparation has focused on specialized vocabulary and phraseology. However, after reading several hundred pages of transcribed courtroom testimony we saw that expert witness testimony from a number of different fields was not as lexically specialized as one would believe, but that it did contain many more grammatical, structural and syntactic errors than would be expected. In this study we have classified the most frequently occurring errors found in this transcribed testimony, and have noted the strategies used by both novice and experienced interpreters to deal with these challenges.


    How are Courtroom Questions Interpreted? - An Analysis of Spanish Interpreters' Practices, Sandra Hale, pp 21-50
    Questions in the adversarial courtroom are used strategically by counsel to guide, control and constrain the information presented in evidence. This is achieved partly by the content of the question, but also by the form of the question. Different types of questions predominate in either examination-in-chief or cross-examination to suit the purpose of each. Whereas the questions used in examination-in-chief tend to be more open and less constraining (e.g. Wh- questions), those used in cross-examination tend to be more coercive and aggressive (e.g. declaratives, tag questions). When cases involve speakers of different languages, interpreters are required. It is essential that interpreters understand the purpose of questions in the courtroom and the pragmatic effect of each type in order to render accurate interpretations. This paper will report on the results of empirical research into the way Spanish interpreters interpret English questions into Spanish in thirteen Local Court cases in Australia. The main aim of the study was to ascertain whether interpreters maintain the form as well as the content of the question in their interpretation, and if they do not, the possible reasons why and the implications of their choices.


    Interactional Pragmatics, Face and the Dialogue Interpreter, Ian Mason and Miranda Stewart, pp 51-70
    The aim of this paper is to hypothesize that issues of politeness and other interactional pragmatic variables are crucial to an understanding of what is involved in dialogue interpreting events; and to illustrate what is at stake by reference to an instance of courtroom interpreting (during the OJ Simpson trial) and instances of immigration service interviews. In these triadic speech events, which inherently contain a degree of threat to face, it is found that face-threatening acts are frequently modified in the act of translating, irrespective of the style of interpreting adopted.


    Interpreting in Crisis - The Interpreter's Position in Therapeutic Encounters, Cecilia Wadensjö, pp 71-85
    The present paper explores interaction in two interpreter-assisted therapeutic encounters. The analysis suggests that the physical position of the interpreter may be decisive for the kind of care-providing the encounter can bring about. More precisely, I claim that the position of the interpreter can potentially facilitate as well as obstruct the participants' synchronization of talk. This in turn may have an impact on their experience of spiritual affinity, of 'being with' one another, and hence on the refugee-patient's willingness and ability to re-tell traumatic memories. The paper points to the placement of the interpreter in relation to the primary parties as one of the factors that could be further explored, not only for a better understanding of the role of the dialogue interpreter, but also for the development of interpreter-mediated encounters as a specific form of mental healthcare.


    How Untrained Interpreters Handle Medical Terms, Bernd Meyer, pp 87-106
    This article addresses and discusses situations in which untrained interpreters deal with medical terms. I will show that the different ways in which this is done can be seen in relation to the particular speech situation, the pre-existing action systems between the interpreter and the primary interlocutors, and the organization of the source discourse. After a general introduction and some considerations of the pragmatic function of medical terms, three authentic cases will be discussed. The article finishes with a discussion of the data and my conclusions.




    The Rebirth of the King's Linguist, Pierre Kouraogo, pp 109-130
    Oral translation from French into the native languages assumes a particular importance in Burkina Faso, a francophone African country, because of the language diversity, the high illiteracy rate and the urgency of development tasks requiring effective modes of communication. After noting the poor state and status of translation into Burkinabè languages, this paper argues that a closer look at instances of effective performances by outstanding untrained interpreters can give interesting insights into the role and practices of interpreting in similar contexts. Of particular interest is the innovative use of the skills and strategies deployed by interpreters in traditional Africa referred to in the literature as the king's linguists (Bandia 1998). The samples analysed show that although what is involved can be rightly categorized as consecutive translation of speeches, this activity shares many features with dialogue interpreting because it is carried out face-to-face with an audience (the interpreter's handling of interpersonal communication, his facial expressions, gestures and interjections, direct forms of address, etc). These aspects key in with previous studies on the interpreter's footing, face, power, distance. The paper then considers some methodological issues to be solved in an in-depth study of this mode of interpreting.


    Oranda Tsûji and the Sidotti Incident. An Interview with an Italian Missionary by a Confucian Scholar in 18th-century Japan, Yukino Semizu, pp 131-145
    From 1641 to 1867, Japan was virtually closed to the outside world except for trading with the Dutch, and Christianity, which had gained a considerable number of followers in the preceding hundred years, was strictly forbidden by the government. In 1708, an Italian missionary was captured when he landed on a small island in southern Japan. He was first questioned by the local magistrate, then sent to the capital following a request from one of the most prominent scholars of the time. The scholar was also an advisor to the shogun, the head of the government. The interpreters for both interviews were a group of Dutch-speaking Japanese officials known as Oranda tsûji (Dutch language officers). These translator/interpreters administered the trading with the Dutch and carried out any necessary work involving the Dutch language. The language required for this occasion was, however, not Dutch. The contents of the interviews were such that the incident led to a publication of the first influential study of the West by the Japanese. This article presents an interpreting event in which, in contrast to many assumptions made of them today, interpreters played a pivotal role in cultural transfer and the consequent intellectual development of the country. The historical background of translation in Japan is outlined, and the interpreters' position and their expected roles in the society are examined.




    First Steps on Firmer Ground. A Project for the Further Training of Sign Language Interpreters in Austria, Nadja Grbic, pp 149-171
    This article focuses on a further training project for sign language interpreters implemented from February 1997 to March 1998 at the Institute of Translation Studies at the University of Graz. This one-year project, the subject of detailed analysis in this article, was the first attempt to be undertaken in Austria to teach and observe sign language interpreters who had received no formal training but had mainly worked as natural interpreters, very often in complete isolation and without any opportunity to reflect upon and discuss their work. In order to be able to analyse the different effects of this project in a useful context, it is outlined here against the background of the ever-changing perception of the social practice of sign language interpreting in Austria.


    Teaching Liaison Interpreting: Combining Tradition and Innovation, Annalisa Sandrelli, pp 173-196
    In the light of ever-increasing interest in liaison interpreting both as a professional activity and as a process, the issue of training has acquired paramount importance. The Department of Italian of the University of Hull offers its final year students a first exposure to interpreting techniques in a module combining traditional approaches and dedicated computer technology. The paper discusses issues of curriculum design and illustrates them with samples of actual teaching materials and students' work.