Exploring Interpreters as Intercultural Mediators: The Role of Interpreters in Communication

By Summer Mouallem.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Are interpreters merely robots that transfer sentences from one language into another without looking at what is behind those utterances or do they have a responsibility to ensure optimum communication between parties through transferring and explaining cultural nuances? This paper shall look at what some perceive as conflict between some codes of Ethics that insist on accuracy and faithfulness to the speaker (No additions or omissions) and what some interpreting theorists think regarding this issue; Bochner divides cultural mediators in interpreting into two types: synthesizers and translators; these types, and the need for both, would be discussed in detail. The paper shall look at why some scholars such as Seleskovitch, Hatim and Mason defend the practice of interpreters as inter-cultural mediators through looking at the literature published on this topic so far. We shall also look specifically at taboo and its links to culture and the need to explain its cultural nuances in detail, and the consequences of not interpreting the cultural background to some taboo terms, be that in courts or business meetings. The types of taboo shall be defined to ensure people realize it is not just sexual taboo we are discussing.

Keywords: Inter-cultural Communication, Interpreting, Taboo

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp.23-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 207.080KB).

Summer Mouallem

Senior Lecturer in Interpreting and Translation, Subject Leader of Arabic, School of Languages, Literature, and International Studies, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire, UK

Summer Mouallem is a course leader of modern languages and a subject leader and senior lecturer in Arabic and interpreting and translation at the University of Central Lancashire, where she designed a degree course for Arabic. Summer also works as a freelance interpreter and has interpreted for royalty and high ranking Arab government officials; she is also a translator, trainer and consultant. Summer is currently undertaking research on taboo and interpreting. She holds an MA in translation and interpreting, in addition to two diplomas in public services interpreting (law and health) and a diploma in translation.