Interpreters = Cultural Mediators?

Wang, C. 2018. Interpreters = Cultural Mediators? TranslatoLogica. 1, pp. 93-115.

TitleInterpreters = Cultural Mediators?
AuthorsWang, C.
Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that interpreters need to have knowledge of the cultures represented by the languages they work with. However, it is not clear what interpreters are expected to do with this knowledge. Some scholars recommend interpreters be cultural mediators while others propose the role of interpreters to be separated from the role of cultural mediators. This study explores the role of interpreters in the face of cultures from an industry perspective by looking into existing professional guidelines on interpreters’ roles. Specifically, the study compares and contrasts the codes of conduct for interpreters from a number of associations and institutions in the UK, the US and China. The study seeks to investigate: (1) which role, the conduit/communication facilitator or the cultural mediator, is expected of interpreters and to what extent interpreters’ role as cultural mediators is referred to or defined in these codes of conduct; (2) what are interpreters expected to do with their knowledge of cultures in the face of cultures/cultural issues. Data analysis suggests that: (1) interpreters are seldom expected to perform the role of cultural mediators, and in the rare cases where they are, they are advised to agree with their clients beforehand or to perform the role using their professional judgement, which arguably they are not trained for in their interpreting course; (2) interpreters are required to have cultural knowledge, and are expected to use this knowledge for linguistic mediation, but existing guidelines are not adequately helpful. The study then discusses the implications of these findings.

Keywordscodes of conduct, interpreters, cultural mediators, interpreter training
JournalTranslatoLogica
Journal citation1, pp. 93-115
Year2018
PublisherDepartment of Translation at the Institute of English, University of Wrocław and the Translatio Doctoral Students' Association
Accepted author manuscript
Publisher's version
Web address (URL)http://www.ifa.uni.wroc.pl/translatologica/issues.html
Publication dates
Published01 Sep 2017
LicenseCC BY 3.0

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