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10. Community interpreting in Spain

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Abstract

This paper presents the results of a study aimed at determining how community interpreters in Spain perceive their work. The study involves interpreters in different settings including hospitals, social services, emergency and civil defense organisations, the security forces and the law courts. It has basically been conducted in Andalucía and in the case of the justice system it includes data gathered nationwide. The aim is to explore the interpreters’ perception of their role and specifically the limits of that role with regard to adaptation of language register, cultural explanations, expansion and omission of information, the relation with clients, and specialized terminology, amongst other aspects. As in previous studies by the GRETI research group, the methodology is questionnaire-based and has also resorted to a structured interview. The results show that in terms of professionalisation there are certain differences between the law courts (where interpreting is explicitly legally provided for), and other settings. However, in both instances interpreters seem to shape their role according to intuition, and the majority would seem to go beyond the function that most codes of ethics stipulate. Moreover, the results reveal a total lack of knowledge regarding interpreting as a specialized professional activity.

References

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