The role of the affective in interpreting in conflict zones
This article explores the role of the affective in interpreting in intractable conflicts. Drawing on the results of a participatory research project exploring the lived experiences of civilian interpreters and Spanish military personnel who worked in Afghanistan, the article argues that emotions shape the interpreter’s behaviour and have an impact on the interpreter’s positionality. There are differences, however, between national and local interpreters, which stem from their previous experiences and how these have shaped their understanding of the conflict. This has also led them to develop different attitudes that influence their perception and interpretation of reality. Accepting that emotions do exist and that they influence the interpreter’s decisions and behaviour should inform the design of tailored training programmes. The key aspects of a well-informed training programme are therefore not limited to language and culture, professionalism and ethics, and military competencies, but also include awareness about the role of emotions.
Keywords: interpreting, conflict zones, national interpreters, local interpreters, emotions, participatory research
Published online: 29 October 2020
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