Interpretation as a problem of presentation. An ethnographic study of the role of the interpreter in asylum hearings
|FERDINAND ENKE VERLAG
|ZEITSCHRIFT FUR SOZIOLOGIE
This article presents an ethnographically based communication analysis of the official hearings of asylum Seekers in Germany. In these hearings interpreters play a central role. Because they have control over both languages, they lend a voice and an ear to the decision-makers and to the asylum seekers, both of which are otherwise separated from each other by the language barrier. During the hearings the asylum seekers and the officials (along with an ethnographer) are alternately excluded from the `'palaver'' of the respective parties conversing in one of the two languages in turn. This exclusion does ndt mean that the participants must trust the interpretes blindly. The interpreter is, however, confronted with special standards of performance. These are determined by a variety of situational factors and cannot be explained by every-day notions of lexical identity or linguistic models of translation. The article shows how the interpreters words are rendered as correct translations for their respective audiences.
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checked on Feb 22, 2024