Strategies in public service interpreting
A roleplay study of Chinese–Spanish/Catalan interactions
Strategies have been far more widely researched in conference interpreting than in the interactional setting of public service interpreting (PSI), although studies of the latter by Wadensjö and other authors suggest a strategic rationale for certain types of rendition (especially non-renditions). The present article describes an exploratory, qualitative study, based on roleplay, to identify strategies in PSI: the roleplays were designed to incorporate a variety of ‘rich points’, coinciding with peak demands on the interpreter’s problem-solving capacities and therefore particularly relevant to empirical study of interpreting strategies. Five interpreter-mediators with the Chinese–Spanish/Catalan language combination were each asked to interpret three different dialogues, in which the primary participants’ input was a re-enactment of real situations. Analysis of the transcribed video recordings was complemented by a preliminary questionnaire and by retrospective interviews with the interpreters. Their strategies, classified according to whether the problems concerned were essentially linguistic or involved the dynamics of interaction, in some cases reflect priorities typically associated with intercultural mediation. The advantages and limitations of using ‘rich points’ and roleplays in the study of interpreting strategies are briefly discussed
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