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Title: Interpreter-mediated questioning of minors: to bridge or not to bridge socio-cultural differences ?
Authors: Salaets, Heidi
Balogh, Katalin
Issue Date: Oct-2015
Conference: Interculturality: applied and critical perspectives.(International EPIC conference) location:Antwerp, Belgium date:15-16 October 2015
Abstract: Since a few decades, the view of the interpreter as a “machine”, “subtitlor” or “conduit” has been abandoned and descriptions of the role of the interpreter as a “gatekeeper”, “coordinator”, “active participant” in the triadic exchange has taken its place. This has been possible thanks to research of numerous scholars in the young Interpreting Studies (IS) discipline (Wadensjö 1998, Metzger 1999, Roy 2000, Wilcox and Shaffer 2005, Mason 2009, Pöchhacker 2012, Valero-Garcés 2012, Lee & Llewellyn-Jones 2014).
The question is to know how “active” the interpreter is then allowed to be? We will focus specifically on the initiative to flag socio-cultural differences. The subsequent questions are how this so-called “active role” must be formulated in code of ethics and can be implemented in training programmes because “in many training programmes and professional codes the equilibrium between prescriptive rules and real-life practice is still shaky”. (Hertog, 2010, 51)
As a case in point, the CO-Minor-IN/QUEST research (JUST/2011/JPEN/AG/2961) has put forward some confirmed but also new insights about the role of the interpreter in interpreter mediated questioning of minors (ImQM). The high response rate to the questionnaire, held amongst interpreters but also legal actors, psychologists and child support workers, showed that this is a topic worth investigating. Young people who find themselves per definition in an unpleasant situation – a police questioning in a foreign country – in addition do not know how to express themselves (knowledge of local language is lacking) but most of all they find themselves in a society where they do not know the rules (yet). Their particular situation has obviously an influence on the behavior of the interpreter who, despite his ethical code, does not always know how to approach the situation. Depending on his own different cultural background and the expectations and cultural background(s) of other participants involved in the ImQM, is he allowed to adjust his verbal and non-verbal behavior? And if the answer is yes, with how many cultural background(s) that come along in this ImQM he must/can deal with it? Which is the best way to do so?
The above mentioned research formulates some recommendations regarding these issues.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Interpreting Studies, Campus Sint-Andries Antwerp
Translation Studies Research Unit - miscellaneous

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