Publication details [#66699]

Walsh, Dave and Lauren Wilson. 2019. Striving for impartiality. Conflicts of role, trust and emotion in interpreter-assisted police interviews. Pragmatics and Society 10 (1) : 122–151.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


In the context of interpreter-assisted police interviews (IAPIs) it is essential for both police officers and interpreters to maintain impartiality at all times. However, there are numerous obstacles on the way towards achieving this fundamental goal. The present study examines whether and how the different conflicts in communication are constructed and controlled within the different phases of police interviews, using a self-administered questionnaire that explores the perceptions of police officers and interpreters. Three areas of conflict pertinent to impartiality were identified: role, trust and emotion. The differing assumptions about the roles of police officers and interpreters, and the respective differing expectations, appear to create barriers in the achievement of trust and in the working relationship as a whole, which may well affect the aim of IAPIs (i.e. to gather reliable information) and alter the interview outcomes. In addition, both police officers and interpreters have strong emotional experiences during IAPIs; however, neither group appear to make conscious efforts to engage in coping strategies.