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Interpreters = Cultural Mediators?

Wang, C; (2017) Interpreters = Cultural Mediators? TranslatoLogica , 1 (2017) pp. 93-114. Green open access

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Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that interpreters need to have knowledge of the cultures represented by the languages they work with. However, it is not clear what interpreters are expected to do with this knowledge. Some scholars recommend interpreters be cultural mediators while others propose the role of interpreters to be separated from the role of cultural mediators. This study explores the role of interpreters in the face of cultures from an industry perspective by looking into existing professional guidelines on interpreters’ roles. Specifically, the study compares and contrasts the codes of conduct for interpreters from a number of associations and institutions in the UK, the US and China. The study seeks to investigate: (1) which role, the conduit/communication facilitator or the cultural mediator, is expected of interpreters and to what extent interpreters’ role as cultural mediators is referred to or defined in these codes of conduct; (2) what are interpreters expected to do with their knowledge of cultures in the face of cultures/cultural issues. Data analysis suggests that: (1) interpreters are seldom expected to perform the role of cultural mediators, and in the rare cases where they are, they are advised to agree with their clients beforehand or to perform the role using their professional judgement, which arguably they are not trained for in their interpreting course; (2) interpreters are required to have cultural knowledge, and are expected to use this knowledge for linguistic mediation, but existing guidelines are not adequately helpful. The study then discusses the implications of these findings.

Type: Article
Title: Interpreters = Cultural Mediators?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.ifa.uni.wroc.pl/translatologica/vol1.ht...
Language: English
Additional information: Authors of papers published in TranslatoLogica retain copyright in accordance with the provisions of Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence that allows the authors "to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format" as well as to "remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially" with proper acknowledgement of the paper's authorship and initial publication in TranslatoLogica.
Keywords: Codes of conduct, interpreters, cultural mediators, interpreter training
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10086943
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