Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1384-6647
  • E-ISSN: 1569-982X
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This study explores the interpreter’s positioning in a Video Relay Interpreting (VRI) service that offers bimodal mediation between people using Swedish Sign Language (SSL) and people using spoken Swedish. Positioning subsumes the ways in which interpreters orient themselves to the contingencies of the setting on a moment-by-moment basis, in relation to the impact of technology, participants’ knowledge asymmetries (e.g., prior experience of VRI), their physical separation, and the need for two arenas (visual and auditive). The interpreting is bimodal, each of the two users being in direct contact with the interpreter through a different medium (telephone for one, videophone for the other). Nine excerpts from two calls within the VRI service serve as examples to show how the interpreter’s positioning emerges dynamically in relation to contingent variables of the setting, such as the initial importance of briefing users on the service, temporary loss of sound and image, the perceived need to inform either user of extralinguistic items, or situational awareness that it is time to conclude the interaction. This new research perspective on VRI can afford a better understanding of its moment-by-moment complexity and specificities, thus helping improve it and train interpreters better for it.


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