Chapter in:Advances in Interdisciplinary Language Policy
Edited by François Grin, László Marácz and Nike K. Pokorn
[Studies in World Language Problems 9] 2022
► pp. 258–274
Migrants’ attitudes towards community interpreting
The aim of the chapter is to describe the attitude of different groups of migrants to community interpreting and the role of community interpreting in the inclusion process. The role of public-service translation and interpreting and attitudes towards community interpreting were studied in three groups of migrants in Slovenia: short-term (those who stay in the host country from one to 12 months), medium-term (those who intend to stay in the host country for a minimum of one year, but for a limited period of time), and long-term (those who intend to stay in the host country for the rest of their lives). The study covers 65 migrants from different language backgrounds (18 different L1s were identified) who intended to stay in the host country for various periods of time. First, the language profiles of migrants were defined on the basis of a questionnaire, then semi-structured interviews were conducted with 38 short-term, 9 medium-term and 18 long-term migrants. The results show that migrants, regardless of their country of origin, the status of their L1, their level of education and their intended length of stay in the host country, had a rather negative attitude towards interpreting. They were reluctant to use interpreters because they doubted the accuracy of this mediated transfer due to the fact that public-service institutions tend to employ unqualified interpreters for the languages of new migrants. In addition, migrants, regardless of the level of their education, gender and language background, mainly considered this mediation strategy to be a hindrance to their independence. However, they expressed the need to use interpreters and translators in the early stages of their stay in the host country, especially in high-risk situations such as multilingual encounters in health-care, court and police settings.