Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1932-2798
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2700
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This article investigates the impact of interpreting within the discursive frame of the free recall element in forensic interview formats. The delivery of a prompted free recall has been shown to yield evidence of a better quality than that obtained through elicited accounts; free recall, therefore, constitutes a central technique in investigative interviewing. Police institutional discourse associates specific discursive behavior and conversational resources with free recall. Drawing on experimental data, this paper analyzes several effects of interpreting on achieving and maintaining free recall. The following topics are feature in this paper: the frame transition from the interviewer-led opening section to the delivery of a free narrative; the meta-talk that arises regarding interpreting; and the segmentation of the interpreted free recall and the coordination of turn-taking. The article discusses instances of misalignment between the functional goals of free recall and the interpreting-related strategies the interviewer and the interpreter adopt. This analysis demonstrates the contextual nature of “quality” as defined in institutional face-to-face interpreting and highlights discursive expertise as a central component in the professionalization of Public Service Interpreting.


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