Community Interpreting Level 3 Assign (1) Understanding the Role of Community Interpreter

August 16, 2017 Religion

In this assignment we will discuss what is community interpreting, the role of the community interpreter, the skills the community interpreter has to have. It will discuss also the different settings and professionals involved in community interpreting as well as the different forms of interpreting and their employment. What is Community Interpreting?

Community Interpreting has been defined in various ways but it could be simplified to being “…. a specific type of interpreting service which is particularly vital in communities with large numbers of ethnic minorities, enabling those minorities to access services where, due to the language barrier, they would otherwise find it difficult”. (1)

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The First International Conference on Interpreting in Legal, Health and Social Service Settings has defined community interpreting as follows: “Community Interpreting enables people who are not fluent speakers of the official language(s) of the country to communicate with the providers of public services so as to facilitate full and equal access to legal, health, education, government, and social services”. (Ref. 2)

From the above definitions one can say that a community interpreter is a professional who mediates between two or more persons with different backgrounds and languages; one is a member of the community (client) and the other is a member of the public sector (service provider), helping both sides to interact positively and to their mutual satisfaction. Role and responsibilities of community interpreter: In a given session, a community interpreter may have to switch between different roles because every client will have different needs.

The interpreter could act as conduit, clarifier, communitybroker and in some cases an advocate (Ref5). They are often given little time to prepare for work in a given situation. Therefore, they must possess the required skills and information to respond effectively to their client’s needs in a particular context. In order to work reliably and effectively, interpreters working in the public sector must have: •a good command of English and the target language with it’s associated idioms, dialects and accents; •competence in the relevant interpreting and translation techniques (i. : competence in both languages, body language, terminologies and different forms of interpretation which could be used in a specific setting) and the interpreter has the right to refuse an assignment in the following circumstances: 1. When s/he feels that they have been inadequately briefed; 2. When s/he feels that they do not have adequate training or support; or 3. When s/he is subject to unacceptable demands or behaviour from clients. •complete impartiality which means that: 1.

The interpreter will not negotiate or advocate on behalf of either party; 2. The interpreter will not act as advisor or counsellor for any party; or 3. The interpreter will not attempt to influence the outcome of any exchange between parties. However, the interpreter may, as a separate assignment, give guidance on cultural norms and differences, in order to facilitate fuller understanding between parties, also he could ask the service provider professional not to use euphemistic expressions and be as clear as possible with the client.

Furthermore, the interpreter could act as an advocate on behalf of the client in situations s/he might feel that the client is being undermined or s/he could even direct the service provider to give more clear and definitive information in cases when s/he feels that the client did not get such information as clearly as it should be given (ref3). •Confidentiality & Equal Opportunity (ref 4): The interpreter should maintain utmost confidentiality and trust, since clients need to feel that total discretion will be observed by both the interpreter and the agency.

Furthermore, an interpreter will not discriminate between parties, either directly or indirectly, on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic origin, age, nationality, religion and belief, gender, physical ability or sexual orientation. Forms or Techniques of Community Interpretations: There are many techniques or forms of interpretations which the community interpreter may use. Each form is used in accordance to the settings and specific job requested by the interpreter. •Consecutive:

One side speaks short statements then pauses to give the chance for the interpreter to do his job, after that the other party speaks some short statements in return and pauses for the interpreter and so on. This form of interpretation is known as bi-directional and the interpreter should be present in the same room as the speakers, and this form is considered to be “the classic form of interpreting” (Ref 6) •Simultaneous This means that the interpreter listens to the speaker and starts his/her interpretation virtually at the same time (usually there will be few words delay).

This form of interpretation is mono-directional where the interpreter sits in a closed room and delivers his interpretation through an audio system and headphones to the listeners. This is often used in international conferences (e. g. United Nations meetings). •Whisper: This is similar to simultaneous interpretation, where the interpreter starts interpreting almost at the same time as the speaker, but it differs from the simultaneous form in that the interpreter is present on site and delivers his interpretation to the listener in a very low voice (whispering).

This technique is mostly used in court hearings, university lessons, and small meetings. •Sight Translation: This is used in some cases where the interpreter has to read through a document and interprets it to the client e. g. service notices, legal documents, documents needing the client’s signature. •Verbatim (Word for Word): This is used in situations, where the interpreter has to literally convey the professional speech to the client word for word. So this form requires extreme accuracy and honesty. Verbatim is used during court hearing and police investigations.

In all of the above techniques the interpreter can decide if 1st or 3rd person speech will be used during his interpretation unless asked otherwise. Summary: Community interpreting is looked as being a linguistic bridge between community residents who are not fluent in community language and the service provider professionals, and for that the community interpreter should be skilled, fluent in languages, and cultural differences as well as being knowledgeable with interpretation techniques. Bibliography: (1) Online: http://en. ikipedia. org/wiki/Community_interpreting (2) Roda Roberts. The critical link: Interpreters in the community. Papers from the 1st International Conference on Interpreting in Legal, Health, and Social Service Settings, Geneva Park, Canada, June 1-4, 1995 (3) Class Discussion Thurs 7/10: Nassim’s own experience (Parent’s meeting). (4) Online: www. stics. org. uk/service… /the-role-of-the-interpreter. html (5) Online: http://www. diversityrx. org/html/moipr3. htm (6) Online: http://www. diversityrx. org/html/moipr3. htm


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