Neutrality in public service interpreting

Rethinking the role of public service interpreters

Authors

  • Zuzana Balounová Charles University, Prague, Czechia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/vh.29.1.13-29

Keywords:

public service interpreting, community interpreting, neutrality, impartiality, codes of ethics

Abstract

Most of the interpreting in the world today is done by public service interpreters. However, there has been a great deal of confusion regarding public service interpreting (PSI), specifically the role of the interpreter and neutrality in PSI. While codes of ethics assert that public service interpreters must act neutrally and impartially, users of PSI tend to view the interpreter as their advocate, making it difficult for the interpreter to maintain neutrality. In fact, as previous studies have shown, maintaining neutrality is one of the biggest challenges public service interpreters face. This article provides a review of the existing literature on the role of public service interpreters, ranging from early studies (e.g., Roberts, 1997; Wadensjö, 1998; Pöchhacker, 2000) via more recent work (e.g., Hale, 2008; Kalina, 2015; Valero Garcés, 2015) to the latest studies on the issue (e.g., Balogh & Salaets, 2019; Şener & Kincal, 2019; Runcieman, 2020). Using practical examples, the article analyses some of the existing codes of ethics and professional guidelines, which, as several authors suggest, are insufficient and should be reassessed. Throughout the paper, differences in different PSI settings (e.g., healthcare centres, schools, social services offices) are addressed.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Abarca, N., Allen, K. (2019): «Education Interpreting 101: It’s a Lot Harder than It Looks». The ATA Chronicle, 8 March 2019. https://www.atanet.org/educators-trainers/educational-interpreting-101-its-a-lot-harder-than-it-looks/#sthash.AXCD8mHf.tq31Uu8u.dpbs (04-06-2021).

Angelelli, C. V. (2004): Revisiting the Interpreter‘s Role. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Balogh, K., Salaets, H. (2019): «Interpreter-mediated Questioning of Minors (ImQM): The Voice of Children and Their Rapport with Interpreters». Revista de Llengua i Dret / Journal of Language and Law, 71, 27-44.

Balogh, K., Salaets, H. (eds.). (2015): Children and Justice: Overcoming Language Barriers: Cooperation in interpreter-mediated questioning of minors. Cambridge, Antwerp, Portland: Intersentia.

Barsky, R. (1996): «The Interpreter as Intercultural Agent in Convention Refugee Hearings». The Translator, 2, 1, 45–63.

California Healthcare Interpreters Association [CHIA]. (2002): California Standards for Healthcare Interpreters. http://www.chiaonline.org/Resources/Documents/CHIA%20Standards/standards_chia.pdf (01-02-2021).

Collins Dictionary. (n.d.): «Neutrality». In: Collins Online Dictionary. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/neutrality (04-06-2021).

D‘Hayer, D. (2012): «Public Service Interpreting and Translation: Moving Towards (Virtual) Community of Practice». Meta, 57, 1, 235-247.

Diabová, A. (ed.). (2014): Chápete člověče, co vám říkám?, aneb, Komunitní tlumočení u nás: (návod, jak se domluvím s uprchlíkem, pacientem, neslyšícím…). Praha: Jednota tlumočníků a překladatelů.

Eraslan Gercek, S. (2008): «Cultural Mediator or Scrupulous Translator? Revisiting Role, Context and Culture in Consecutive Conference Interpreting». In: Pieter Boulogne (ed.), Translation and Its Others. Selected Papers of the CETRA Research Seminar in Translation Studies 2007. https://www.arts.kuleuven.be/cetra/papers/files/eraslan-gercek.pdf (15-03-2021).

Garber, N. (2000): «Community Interpretation: A Personal View». In: Roda P. Roberts, Silvana E. Carr, Diana Abraham, Aideen Dufour (eds.), The Ciritical Link 2: Interpreters in the Community. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 9-20.

García-Beyaert, S., Bancroft, M. A., Allen, K., Carriero-Contreras, G., Socarrás-Estrada, D. (eds.). (2015): Ethics and Standards for The Community Interpreter®: An International Training Tool. Barcelona: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Hale, S. (2008): «Controversies over the Role of the Court Interpreter». In: Carmen Valero Garcés, Anne Martin (eds.), Crossing Borders in Community Interpreting: Definitions and Dilemmas. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 99-121.

Holkupová, J. (2010): Role komunitního tlumočníka z hlediska očekávání účastníků tlumočnické komunikační situace (Master‘s Thesis). Praha: Filozofická

fakulta Univerzity Karlovy. https://dspace.cuni.cz/bitstream/handle/

500.11956/26280/DPTX_2009_1_11210_ASZK10001_128421_0_82469.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y (21-02-2021).

Kalina, S. (2015): «Ethical Challenges in Different Interpreting Settings». MonTI, Special Issue 2, 63-86.

Laster, K., Taylor, V. (1994): Interpreters and the Legal System. Sydney: The Federation Press.

Macmillan Dictionary. (n.d.): «Neutrality». In: Macmillan Dictionary. https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/neutrality (04-06-2021).

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.): «Neutrality». In: Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neutrality (04-06-2021).

META, o.p.s. (n.d.): Etický kodex komunitního tlumočníka. https://www.meta-ops.cz/sites/default/files/eticky_kodex_kt_1.pdf (01-02-2021).

META, o.p.s. (2014): Komunitní tlumočníci ve víru integrace. Praha: META, o.p.s.. https://meta-ops.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/meta_komunitni_

tlumocnici_ve_viru_integrace.pdf (20-02-2021).

Moody, B. (2011): «What is a Faithful Interpretation?». Journal of Interpretation, 21, 1, 36-51.

Pöchhacker, F. (2000): «The Community Interpreter‘s Task: Self Perception and Provider Views». In: Roda P. Roberts, Silvana E. Carr, Diana Abraham, Aideen Dufour (eds.), The Ciritical Link 2: Interpreters in the Community. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 49-65.

Pöllabauer, S. (2004): «Interpreting in Asylum Hearings». Interpreting, 6, 2, 143-180.

Prunč, E., Setton, R. (2015): «Neutrality». In: Franz Pöchhacker (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Interpreting Studies. New York: Routledge, 273-276.

Roberts, R. P. (1997): «Community Interpreting Today and Tomorrow». In: Roda P. Roberts, Silvana E. Carr, Diana Abraham, Aideen Dufour (eds.), The Critical Link: Interpreters in the Community. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 7-25.

Runcieman, A. J. (2020): «Community Interpreting and the Covid-19 crisis: Present relevancy and future directions». Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies, 242. https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/sites/default/files/download/TPCS_242-Runcieman.pdf (01-03-2021).

Şener, O., Kincal, Ş. (2019): «Role and Ethics in Healthcare Interpreting in Turkey». Journal of Translation Studies, 27, 201-219.

Snellman, P. (2016): «Constraints on and Dimensions of Military Interpreter Neutrality». Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series: Themes in Translation Studies, 15, 260-281.

Sváková, Z. (2011): Impacto psicológico y emocional en los intérpretes y traductores en los servicios públicos (Master‘s Thesis). Madrid: Universidad Alcalá.

The National Council on Interpreting in Health Care [NCIHC]. (2004): A National Code of Ethics for Interpreters in Health Care. https://www.ncihc.org/assets/documents/publications/NCIHC%20National%20Code%20of%20Ethics.pdf (01-02-2021).

Valero Garcés, C. (2003): Traducción e interpretación en los servicios públicos: contextualización, actualidad y futuro. Granada: Comares.

Valero Garcés, C. (2015): «The impact of emotional and psychological factors on public service interpreters: Preliminary studies». Translation & Interpreting, 7, 3, 90-102.

Vávrová, K. (2015): Komunitní tlumočení a jazykové zprostředkování na základních školách v Praze (případová studie) (Master‘s Thesis). Praha: Filozofická fakulta Univerzity Karlovy. https://dspace.cuni.cz/bitstream/handle/20.500.11956/78376/DPTX_2011_1_11210_0_343314_0_119926.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y (21-02-2021).

Wadensjö, C. (1998): Interpreting as Interaction. New York: Longman.

Wadensjö, C. (2004): «Dialogue interpreting: A monologising practice in a dialogically organised world». Target, 16, 1. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 105-124.

Downloads

Published

27.12.2021

How to Cite

Balounová, Z. (2021). Neutrality in public service interpreting: Rethinking the role of public service interpreters. Verba Hispanica, 29(1), 13–29. https://doi.org/10.4312/vh.29.1.13-29