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Interpreting in asylum hearings

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This paper focuses on interpreting in asylum hearings, a field of research thus far largely neglected in Translation Studies. Specifically, it is based on a discourse analytical study of authentic asylum hearings recorded at the Federal Asylum Office in Graz (Austria). Some aspects of the role and responsibilities of interpreters are discussed. The results clearly suggest that interpreters in asylum hearings frequently assume discrepant roles which may at times be determined by the perceived expectations of the officers in charge, and that these roles are not clear-cut. Interpreters are found to shorten and paraphrase statements, volunteer explanations, try to save their own — and if possible, also the other participants’ — face, and intervene if they deem it necessary.
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Keywords: asylum hearings; community interpreting; discourse analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting
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