Towards a typology of interpreters in war-related scenarios in the Middle East
The figure of the interpreter in conflict is as interesting as it is elusive to the rest of the profession and academia. One of the regions that has caught the attention and the interest of scholars is the Middle East. The literature tends to focus on one specific category – locally recruited interpreters – and the application of different theoretical concepts to their role and consideration by the parties involved, and does not delve too deeply into the intricacies of the specific role of other categories of interpreter in this context. Also, the existing narratives do not always frame this role through the typology of the conflict in which it is developed. This paper identifies narratives included in the literature that represent interpreters working in armed conflicts in the Middle East in order to examine the different existing categories. The paper then draws on the results of a qualitative study carried out with staff interpreters at an international organisation with the aim of completing this categorisation. Our focus will be on the characteristics of the different categories of interpreter in terms of their involvement in the different stages of the conflict, their positionality, working conditions, status and recognition by the parties involved in the conflict.
Keywords: interpreting, interpreters, armed conflict, narrative, Middle East
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