Translating accurately or sounding natural? The interpreters’ challenges due to semantic typology and the interpreting process

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Abstract

Police interview interpreting is a complex task, as interpreters make difficult choices under pressure and time constraints. The main dilemma of the interpreter is whether to remain faithful to the original text, with the risk of rendering non-idiomatic translations, or to give preference to more idiomatic versions that may entail an addition or an omission from the original text. This article presents an analysis of Spanish-English bilingual police interviews in California. The analysis is based on the discrepancies found between an interpreter present in the interrogation and a control interpreter who translates the whole interview post-hoc. This is an original methodology that can be used for future research in this and other contexts. The results show different types of inaccuracies in the interpretation, which can be attributed to contextual pressures and overall challenges of interpreting and to challenges related to typological differences between the two languages involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-94
Number of pages23
JournalPragmatics and Society
Volume10
Issue number1
Early online date28 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2019

Keywords

  • police interviews
  • interpreting
  • transcribing
  • Applied Language Typology
  • register
  • Spanish-English interpreting

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