1. Interpreting or interfering?

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There is an ever growing need for community or public service interpreting around the world yet there is great disparity between both the quality and availability of educational courses for community interpreters. This chapter focuses on the Australian context and assumes a community interpreter is qualified in interpreting with an undergraduate degree or postgraduate qualification in interpreting/translating, has national accreditation and is subject to the ethics of AUSIT. The AUSIT code of ethics is examined to reveal its operational code which allows the interpreter to coordinate the metalingual function of the interpreted dialogue, permission for which can emanate from the contract, a specific stage of the genre of the interpreted consultation. Empirical data from a major project in medical interpreting are discussed to show how this metalingual function is used to coordinate and repair talk or interpreting that has broken down due to human error and frailty. Such explicit coordination can work nearly as well as implicit coordination, the normal work of an interpreter. The two types of coordination are considered successful interpreting as distinct from intentional interference by the interpreter who would add or omit or attempt to coordinate beyond the specific professional role of the interpreter.


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