Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1384-6647
  • E-ISSN: 1569-982X
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The community interpreter’s role has been described in various ways, associating it with labels (Roberts 1997), tasks (Pöchhacker 2000), dynamic positioning (Mason 2009), and the interpreter’s relative (in)visibility (Angelelli 2004). Increasingly, conceptions of role are seen not as static and absolute, but as related to the differing (and subjective) viewpoints of the various participants involved. This study uses semi-structured interviews, conducted immediately after five interpreter-mediated encounters (four medical, one legal), to examine: (1) how participants in each encounter differ in their comments on the interpreter, and (2) whether the resulting perspective on the interpreter’s role is related to each respondent’s specific conversational goal on the occasion in question. Twenty-six excerpts from the interviews are discussed: all three participants (service provider, service user, interpreter) were interviewed in three cases, while the interpreter was unavailable for interview in one case and the service recipient in another. The interpreted meetings and subsequent interviews took place in London and Manchester, the languages involved being English (service providers) and Polish (service recipients). The various respondents seemed to differ in their perceptions of the interpreter’s role, ostensibly reflecting their own conversational goals, but not necessarily in line with their status as service provider, service recipient or interpreter.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): community interpreter; conversational goal; expectations; impressions; role; triangulation
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