A description of interpreting in prisons

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Prison interpreting remains a virtually unexplored territory for researchers. As well as drawing greater attention to it, this paper aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the prison interpreting reality by describing the setting on the basis of accounts collected through observation, questionnaires and interviews with practising interpreters and other stakeholders. The data have been examined in order to identify determining factors for the prison setting with regard to interpreting. These factors have been organized according to a subject classification: domain and setting, organizational issues and security procedures, common problems and solutions, ethical principles and dilemmas, and professional role. The findings suggest that the elements particular to the setting, in this case security procedures or the conflictual rapport that is built between primary participants, have an impact on the practice and ethics of public service interpreters (PSIs), pointing to the notion that it is necessary to comprehend the environment in order to adopt an adequate ethical model and professional role.


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