8. Interpreting for the record

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This paper addresses a specific aspect of interpreting in Austrian asylum review hearings, i.e., the interpreter’s role as a co-producer of the written record. The interpreter-mediated encounter is viewed as a joint, co-constructed activity, with responsibility for its content, progression and outcome shared by all the interacting parties. This includes the production of the written record of the interview, which is typed by a recording clerk under the supervision of the adjudicator. The discourse-based analysis of fourteen hearings with English-speaking asylum seekers from African countries shows that most interpreters tend to adjust to a striking degree to the needs of record production. This perceived need to interpret “for the record” not only entails an increased cognitive task load but also a significant degree of shared responsibility on the interpreter’s part for the legally relevant manifestation of the interview.


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