6. Controversies over the role of the court interpreter

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Role definition in Community Interpreting in general remains a controversial issue. The different levels of development of the profession across the world, make consensus on this issue even more difficult. Different roles have been proposed and practised. However, a multiplicity of conflicting roles leads to confusion among users of interpreting services and to insecurity among practising interpreters. The consequences of each of the suggested roles have not yet been fully investigated, with personal opinions and ideology forming the basis for the selection of roles. This chapter will deal specifically with Court Interpreting, as a specialised branch of Community Interpreting. It will outline and analyse each of the most commonly practised and proposed roles, providing examples of each from authentic data based evidence. It will then speculate on the consequences of the application of each role and provide the reasons behind the adoption of a particular role for court interpreters as the most appropriate.


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