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Complexities of high profile interpreting

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This paper examines the experience, perceptions and narratives of the interpreters who worked at the trial of the Madrid terrorist attacks of 11th March 2004. Using semi-structured interviews as an instrument, information was sought from the members of the interpreting team regarding their role and self-image, their relationship with other professionals during the trial, their management of emotions, pressure and possible conflict, as well as the effect of a high profile case such as this on their interpreting performance. The findings show that the interpreters were generally clear and confident about their professional role and capacity, that their working conditions were inadequate, especially at the beginning of the trial, and that the experience heightened the awareness of other court professionals with regard to interpreting. The nature of the trial, the presence of national and international media, as well as the immense responsibility the interpreters assumed in this case created an atmosphere of intense emotion and pressure. However, most of the participants in this study reported that this did not affect their professional performance.
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Keywords: Spain; court interpreting; pressure; role; self-image; working conditions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting
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