We’re in this together – joint and several : How interpreters in spoken languages cooperate in teams in Swedish courts of law
Sammanfattning: In sign-language interpreting and conference interpreting it is common for interpreters to work in pairs and well-established norms exist for how that cooperation is carried out. Working in pairs is becoming more common in Swedish courts for spoken language interpreting. Yet how court interpreters collaborate in these situations is not well described. This study, based on 29 hours of audio-files, examines how interpreters working in English and Swedish cooperate during consecutive interpreting when defendants are questioned in Swedish courts. Using Goffman’s terms, the interpreters can be said to be either ratified or bystander at any given point. Five types of cooperation were identified. Two show prompted support - the ratified interpreter either explicitly asks for support or her communicative behaviour makes the bystander conclude that support is needed, two show how the bystander interpreter self-selects to provide support. The fifth covers situations when a bystander interpreter is using non-renditions to explicitly coordinate the interaction. The study can confirm that interpreters are more noticeable in the courtroom than the traditional view of a good interpreter allows. It also shows how a team of two interpreters together can solve communicative problems related to the interpreter’s parallel tasks of translating and coordinating.
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