[New publication] Interpreting: Volume 20, Issue 2, 2018

Interpreting: Volume 20, Issue 2, 2018

Link to this issue: https://www.jbe-platform.com/content/journals/1569982x/browse

Mixed-methods research in interpreting studies: A methodological review (2004–2014)

Chao Han

Abstract: Interpreting Studies (IS) has emerged as an interdisciplinary enterprise, using a diverse array of research methods derived from postpositivist and constructivist paradigms to investigate interpreting/translational phenomena. Mixed-methods research (MMR), which should enable both (explanation) and (understanding), has for some years been gaining momentum in IS (Hild 2015Pöchhacker 2011). This article draws upon a collection of 312 empirical studies, sampled from 36 peer-reviewed T&I journals (2004‒2014), to provide insight into the practice of MMR in IS. The focus is on rationales, MMR designs and associated characteristics. Major findings are: (a) although over one third (36.2%,  = 113) of the empirical studies used MMR designs, explicit justification for doing so was lacking; (b) the four prototypical MMR designs identified, accounting for 60.2% of the 113 MMR studies, were parallel, sequential, conversion and ; (c) the prototype designs were innovatively combined by researchers, using addition, substitution, and embedment techniques, to form complex MMR variants suitable for the specificities of different research questions. These findings are discussed in relation to inference making and compared with MMR practice in cognate disciplines. Finally, the article provides a set of suggestions for writing and publishing MMR studies in IS.


Interpreter mediation at political press conferences: A narrative account


Sixin Liao, Li Pan

Abstract: Political press conferences, while playing a significant role in international communication by heads of state and government, are still largely underexplored in interpreting studies. More scholarly attention is needed, particularly to examine the interpreter’s mediating role in these uniquely constrained communicative settings. Drawing on narrative theory and Wadensjö’s model of renditions, this paper investigates the interpreter’s mediating role at a 2011 joint press conference with the American and Chinese Presidents, at that time Barack Obama and Hu Jintao respectively. Specifically, the study examines how the interpretation comprises reduced, expanded and summarized renditions of the speakers’ narratives, and how the resulting mediation can affect not only their image, but also the outcome of the diplomatic communication between their respective countries. Here, the interpreter’s performance is subject not only to his language competence, but also to a number of other factors. On the one hand, his mediation can be facilitated rather than restricted by the constraints of the setting where the interpreting occurs, such as technical problems and time limitations. On the other hand, the mediation can also reflect the interpreter’s institutional role and the public narratives within the socio-cultural context.


Conference interpreting and knowledge acquisition: How professional interpreters tackle unfamiliar topic

Chia-chien Chang, Michelle Min-chia Wu, Tien-chun Gina Kuo

Abstract: This paper describes knowledge acquisition of professional conference interpreters in Taiwan when dealing with unfamiliar topics: the focus is on how the required knowledge is developed before, during and after a conference. We interviewed 10 Chinese-English interpreters, to find out about their preparation for such conferences and their approach to developing domain-specific knowledge. We first collected each interpreter’s five latest conference programs and used these to analyze the knowledge domains covered. We then based each interview on one conference agenda, considered representative by the interpreter, to examine the knowledge acquisition process from pre- to post-conference. The results show strategic preparation of unfamiliar topics: to facilitate comprehension and reformulation, interpreters make good use of conference documents and compile glossaries in which they organize the concepts and terminology specific to the conference. As they assimilate the language usage of the presenters and other participants during the conference, they use their analytical skills to manage any difficulties. Keeping in mind the aims of the event (e.g., commercial, scientific), as well as the profiles of the speakers and target audience, helps to optimize availability of relevant knowledge at short notice and continue updating it during the assignment.


Non-renditions and the court interpreter’s perceived impartiality: A role-play study

Andrew K. F. Cheung

Abstract: This experimental study examined whether non-renditions are linked to the court interpreter’s perceived impartiality. A witness examination was simulated in three variations on a scripted role play, with consecutive interpreting between Cantonese and English. A sample of female Cantonese speakers, divided into two experimental groups and a control group, each played the part of the witness in one role play; the interpreter and the English-speaking bench (judge and defense attorney) were always played by the same three actors. In two experimental groups, the interpretation included some utterances with no source speech counterpart (non-renditions): a Cantonese non-rendition group (16 individuals) had procedural and textual non-renditions addressed to them in Cantonese, without English interpretation for the bench; an English non-rendition group (15 individuals) heard some brief exchanges between the interpreter and the bench, with no Cantonese interpretation. A control group (15 individuals) was not exposed to non-renditions. All three groups completed a questionnaire after the role play. The English non-rendition group rated the interpreter significantly lower than the others on impartiality, and was also the only group to comment unfavorably on the interpreter. A possible explanation is that the Cantonese speakers in this group could not follow the English non-renditions and felt excluded.


Interpreters as technologies of care and control? Language support for refugees in Britain following the 1956 Hungarian uprising

Rebecca Tipton

Abstract: This article investigates aspects of intercultural communication in institutional interaction with refugees in Britain following the 1956 Hungarian uprising. Their arrival, against a backdrop of Cold War politics and the ongoing Suez crisis, constituted Britain’s first test as a signatory to the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. While accounts of displaced persons in 20th century Britain mention communication problems, the impact of interpreters on the early phases of refugee reception can be better understood only through systematic research into their lived experiences and those of their interlocutors: this should include social attitudes and recruitment practices. The use of non-professional interpreters in the period concerned is examined in relation to the metaphor of the interpreter as a technology of care and control, which also serves as a broader critique of post-war refugee treatment in Britain. Contributing to the growing body of interpreting scholarship that explores the sociology of agents and structures in the translation process, the article focuses primarily on the actors concerned with translatorial activity in the many reception camps set up at that time. Artefacts from the National Archives and accounts from the field help identify institutional approaches to mass population displacement, and related discourses about (and by) interpreters.


The headset as an interactional resource in a video relay interpreting (VRI) setting


Camilla Warnicke, Charlotta Plejert

Abstract: Video relay interpreting (VRI) enables communication between a signed language user, remotely connected to an interpreter by videophone, and an interlocutor in spoken contact with the interpreter by telephone. Both users of the service are physically separated from each other and from the interpreter, who is in a studio. Essential technical components of the system include such items as videophones, telephones, computers, software, and a headset. This article explores how the interpreter orients towards the headset, turning it into an interactional resource. Examples of how this is done are identified in extracts from a corpus of VRI conversations between users of Swedish Sign Language (SSL) and spoken Swedish. Ethical approval and all participants’ consent were obtained. Three practices were identified: pointing towards the headset, orienting towards it in other ways (positioning, gesturing, direction of gaze), and holding it. All these practices have concrete pragmatic implications for the various steps in communication, such as establishing reference, repairs, and turn allocation. Enhancing VRI interpreters’ awareness of how equipment like a headset helps to organize the interaction is important, with a view to ensuring that the available technology is used to best effect for purposes of communication.