When the role of the court interpreter intersects and interacts with new technologies

Devaux, Jérôme (2016). When the role of the court interpreter intersects and interacts with new technologies. In: Henry-Tierney, P and Karunanayake, D eds. Intersect, Innovate, Interact. CTIS Occasional Papers, 7. Manchester: Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, pp. 4–21.

URL: http://hummedia.manchester.ac.uk/schools/salc/cent...


Videoconference (VC) systems have been used in courts in England and Wales for more than fifteen years. However, it can be argued that research into how new technologies and interpreters interact in legal settings is still in its infancy. The aim of this article is to analyse whether court interpreters perceive their role differently when they interpret through VC systems, and whether the location (i.e. if they are present in court or in prison) has an impact upon their perception. This article will adopt an innovative approach by using Actor-Network Theory (ANT), and more precisely the sociological construct of Translation. This framework will be applied to three interviews that were conducted with practising legal interpreters in the UK. It will be posited that interpreters create small networks in an interpreted communicative event, in which they Translate only some of the court actors. To do so, they deploy various devices to influence and rally the other actors behind the interpreters’ perceptions of their roles. It will also be argued that although Translation has rarely been applied in Translation and Interpreting Studies, it offers new, innovative avenues for research in Interpreting Studies, especially when new technologies are under scrutiny.

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