Risk analysis as a heuristic tool in the historiography of interpreters

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The specificities of the interpreter’s work can be considered in terms of theway people interact in spoken encounters. Underlying the competing interestsand implicit search for cooperation, there is always the relative proximity ofalternative non-linguistic action. This gives mediated encounters an element ofpotential danger, at the same time as it makes them particularly suitable for riskanalysis. Study of an extreme example of proximate alternative action, a mediatedmilitary encounter in Afghanistan, shows that an interpreter’s failure torender significant material may be considered rational in terms of his possibledistribution of risk priorities. Indeed, risk analysis can enable us to understandmultiple cases of what would otherwise appear to be unethical or non-standardpractices.


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