Chapter published in:Non-professional Interpreting and Translation: State of the art and future of an emerging field of research
Edited by Rachele Antonini, Letizia Cirillo, Linda Rossato and Ira Torresi
[Benjamins Translation Library 129] 2017
► pp. 157–175
From confinement to community service
Migrant inmates mediating between languages and cultures
This paper presents a spin-off study from the research project In MedIO PUER(I), launched at the University of Bologna in 2007 (see Antonini 2010a; Antonini 2010b; Cirillo et al. 2010; Bucaria & Rossato 2010; Antonini this volume), and sets out to investigate the under-researched phenomenon of language and cultural brokering among migrant inmates. In countries such as Italy, where immigration is still a recent experience and resources for institutional interpreting are scarce even in ordinary public contexts, professional language services are virtually non-existent in secluded environments such as prisons. Foreign inmates and jail personnel face linguistic problems that they tend to handle through spontaneous forms of mediation: a convicted migrant, who is fluent in Italian, may act as a mediator between fellow-country inmates with poor knowledge of the host language and jail officers. This form of language and cultural brokering is a common form of ad hoc interpreting that responds to the communication needs of both inmates and detention institutions. This paper sets out to map the phenomenon and to investigate whether this practice has an impact on inmates’ self-perception and rehabilitation process.
Keywords: migrant inmates, ad hoc interpreting, identity, rehabilitation, integration
Published online: 19 June 2017
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