Learning to be a public service interpreter: boundaries, ethics and emotion in a marginal profession

Autor: 
GUÉRY, Frédérique

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Interpreting between peoples of different languages is an ancient practice, and one that has traditionally been viewed as fraught with ambiguities of trust, status, power and agency. In the last quarter of a century, both national and transnational governmental institutions have addressed particular concerns about interpreting for migrants using public services in their host countries. In order to remove the burden of responsibility for such interpreting from the children to whom it often fell, and in order to ensure social justice for migrants in access to services, considerable resources have been invested worldwide in creating professional infrastructures for public service interpreting (PSI), including training, qualifications and registration for specialist practitioners. This thesis investigates in depth, through the narratives of public service interpreters themselves, the complex nature of their work. It builds on previous critiques which have challenged the profession’s formal prescriptions of supposed ‘invisibility’, as if these practitioners were just ‘translating machines’ who do not participate in the social interactions they interpret. However, it also goes beyond existing research by drawing on the sociologies of professions and of workplace learning to highlight aspects of this work that have not hitherto been considered.

Editorial: 
Manchester: Metropolitan University, 2014

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