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					POLICE INTERPRETING - AN
OVERVIEW
Prof Dr Ursula Böser CTISS (Center for Translation and Interpreting Studies
in Scotland) Department of Languages and Intercultural Communication
School of Management and Languages
Heriot-Watt University EDINBURGH
(U.Boser@hw.ac.uk)
MUTICULTURAL SOCIETIES AND
THE GROWING LINGUISTIC
DEMAND – THE SCOTTISH
EXAMPLE
 Scotland has a population of 5.2 million
               3 official languages:
               English, Gaelic and BSL (British Sign
               Language)
 An estimated 150 languages are spoken.
 Most heavily represented: Bengali, Chinese
  (Cantonese), Punjabi, Urdhu, Polish and Italian,
  less frequently French.
Evidence of Problems
Encountered
 Concerns over Court translations – BBC news, Highlands
  and Islands, 28 June 2006
 Failure to use qualified interpreters is resulting in justice
  failures, Trade Union Amicus, 26 September 2006
 Lack of Interpreters leads to miscarriages of justice –
  Workforce language, 29 September 2007
 Unqualified interpreters used by Courts & Fiscals causing
  miscarriage of justice – Scottish Law Reporter, 25 May 2008
 Justice system compromised by unqualified interpreters –
  The Sunday Herald, 4 March 2009
Spending by police forces on
interpretation services in the
UK
  2003-04                  2007
  £ 13,580,599             £ 22,178,040

 Average rise within this period in Scotland
 = 205%

   (Donnelly 2010: 266)
OVERVIEW OF TALK
   1 DEFINITNG POLICE INTERPRETING AS OBJECT OF
     RESEARCH

   2 INTRODUCING AN EMERGING RESEARCH
     PROGRAMME

   3 THE CONDUIT MODEL, THE MYTH OF THE
     INTERPRETER’S INVISIBILITY AND DEGREES OF
     INTERVENTION

   4 WHAT’S IN A WORD? – PRAGMATIC VERSUS “LITERAL
     MEANING”

   5 POLICIES AND CONTEXTS – TRAINING, PROFESSIONAL
     PRACTICE AND WORKING CONDITIONS
CHARACTERISTICS OF
FACE-TO-FACE
INTERPRETING
   Dialogue
   Spontaneous speech
   Short turns at talk
   Bi-directionality of interpretation
POLICE INTERPRETING – AN
EMERGING RESEARCH
AREA
 Main focus within PSI (Public Service Interpreting): Medical
  and Legal Interpreting

 Main focus within legal interpreting: Court interpreting

 This research priority has been shaped by

     - perceptions of relative significance
     - availability of data
OVERVIEW OF ISSUES IN AN
EMERGING FIELD OF
RESEARCH




THE EARLY PHASE: THE CONDUIT MODEL AND
 THE MYTH OF INVISIBILITY
The interpreter as active
participant…
…using Goffmann’s (1981) participation framework and
 speaker roles/production formats:

 animator
  (witness: “Yes” interpreter: “Yes”)

 author
  (witness: “Well, I’d say yes”, interpreter: “Yes”)

 principal
  (witness: “Yes”, interpreter: “Sorry what did you say?”)
The interpreter as active
participant…


 initiates communicational repairs
  (e.g. Could you speak up, please? What does that mean?)
 gate-keeps
  (e.g. allocation of speaking rights)
 explains cultural references
The interpreter as active
participant – an example
(Nakane, 2009: 13)
   1 P2A  ENGLISH SOURCE TEXT Had you paid for your ticket.
   2 I2    Hikōki no okane wa mō harai mashita ka.
           BACK TRANSLATION Have (you) already paid the airfare ?
   3 S2    JAPANESE SOURCE TEXT Mō sore wa, kuru mae kara haratteru (0.4) to omoimasu. (0.5) Mō.
           BACK TRANSLATION Already that, had been paid before coming here I think. Already.
   4 I2   JAPANESE SOURCE TEXT Dare ga haraimashita ka?
           BACK TRANSLATION Who paid?
   5 S2   JAPANESE SOURCE TEXT Hikōki no okane desu ka?
            BACK ANSLATION For the flight?
   6 I2    Hai.
            BACK RANSLATION Yes
   7 S2    JAPANESE SOURCE TEXT Hikōki no okane wa yōsuruni saisho mō nihon ni iru toki haratte, haratte,
   8       haraiowatte
           BACK TRANSLATION The airfare, in short, was already paid initially when we were in
           Japan, paid, payment was done.
   9 I2    Ah, the airfare was paid, (0.2) in Japan,
           (1.2)
   10 I2   In Japanese, the subject of a sentence is often omitted,
   11 P2A Mm.
   12 P2B Alright,
   13 I2  and (you said that) who paid for that,
   14 P2A Right.
   15 I2  he just said, (0.2) it was paid
   16     (1.7)
   17 P2A Who – who paid, (0.2) who paid (0.2) for the ticket.

    (I2 = interpreter, S2 = suspect, P2A= Police officer 1, P2B = Police Officer 2)
Turn-Taking in bilingual,
mediated communication: the
interpreter as co-ordinator

In interpreter-mediated face-to-face interaction other speakers

“…..do not know possible transition points in other languages, nor can they
  know what pauses are or how turns end. They participate only in their
  own language. Thus two turn- taking systems are operating
  independently of each other while yet another system, a discourse
  exchanges system, is controlled by the interpreter”.

(Roy, 2000:99)
LATITUDES OF INITIATIVE -
INTERPRETER ROLES

 CONDUIT         CO-ORDINATOR               ADVOCACY

←--------------------------↔-------------------------------→
invisible                                      highly
                                               visible
WHAT’S IN A WORD?
PRAGMATIC VERSUS
“LITERAL” MEANING


     Translating language use in context
                     versus
            “just do it word for word”
Translating language use in
context
  “How would the original utterance (in the
 given context, with the given participants) be
 appropriately phrased in the target language
 and culture in order to reflect the author’s
 intention and achieve a similar reaction in the
 listener as the original might have?”.

  (Hale, 2007: 7)
Main areas of investigation so
far:
   Politeness
   Register
   Speech Style
   Style of Questioning
   Asymmetrical Power Relations – In-group Loyalties
   Face Work
POLICIES AND CONTEXTS – ROFESSIONAL
CONTEXT, TRAINING
The Context of Professional
Practice
   Interpreter Training
   Codes of Professional Conduct
   Accreditation
   Sourcing
   User Training
A vicious circle of under-
professionalisation
 “If the need for training is not recognised,
  compulsory training will never be enforced. If
  training is not compulsory, the demand for courses
  will be limited, hence reducing their availability. If
  courses are few in numbers and short in duration,
  their content will be compromised, impinging on
  their quality. This in turn effects their effectiveness
  in improving practice, thus reinforcing the fallacy
  that training is not essential.” (Hale, 2007:164)
TRAINING THE USERS:
WORKING WITH
INTERPRETERS
   At the booking stage

     - ensure an appropriate match of interpreter and interviewee

   At the pre-interview stage

     - brief the interpreter about the case, their role, the objective
     - let interpreter have sight of documents to be sight-tanslated

   During the interview

   Issues of role

     - is the interpreter expressing their own views?
     - is the interpreter slipping between 1st and 3rd person?
     - is the interpreter ashamed of what s/he is discussing?
     - are there long stretches where turns are exchanged between the interpreter and one interlocutor while
       the other(s) remain unadressed?
WORKING WITH
INTERPRETERS
       Interaction

    - do not ask interpreter for advice or address them directly
    - do not leave interpreter alone with interviewee
    - hold eye contact with interviewee, address interviewee directly

       Ways of speaking

    -   avoid making asides
    -   avoid and stop overlapping speech
    -   summarise discussion periodically to check consensus of understanding
    -   be aware of culturally specific concepts and references
    -   do not “switch off” while the Foreign Language is spoken
    -   cautiously assess visual information such as facial expression

       During the debriefing

    - give the interpreter an opportunity to state where interpreting problems occurred
    - give the interpreter the possibility to raise concerns about their safety
The future - bright and
Orange?

 Some initial findings on the uses and impact of
  Telephone Interpreting
In conclusion:
 “… there are no absolute and unambiguous criteria
  for defining a mode of interpreting which would be
  ‘good’ across the board. Different activity-types
  with different goal structures, as well as the different
  concerns, needs, desires and commitments of
  primary parties, imply various demands on the
  interpreters”. (Wadensjö,1998: 287)
   More research on the basis of authentic data is needed to establish trends.

   The task is to link “observation of the process to pragmatic constraints such as
    power, distance and face-threat and to semiotic constraints such as genres and
    discourses as socio-textual practices of particular cultural communities (Mason
    1999:160)

   The definition of quality in police interpreting settings must emerge out of a
    dialogue between practitioners, researchers and those who are experts in the
    institutional practices within which police interpreting occurs.

                                 THANK YOU!

                                 U.Boser@hw.ac.uk

				
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