Volume 30, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0924-1884
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9986
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Interpreting in complex transnational contexts has emerged as a recent area of interest for translation and interpreting scholars. These contexts provide a fertile ground for a sociological conceptualization of interpreting, as an emergent practice situated at the interface of individual agency and a socio-professional context. Drawing on our experiences in training interpreters for the ICRC and the UNHCR we develop a positionality-based understanding of ‘humanitarian interpreting’ and define this new analytical category. Based on two paradigmatic profiles of humanitarian interpreters, we present a comparative analysis of the intrinsic and relational factors shaping the positionality of ICRC and UNHCR interpreters in the humanitarian field and describe some of the ethical dilemmas these interpreters face. We furthermore discuss potential similarities and differences between interpreting in humanitarian and other contexts, such as military operations and asylum settings.


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