Publication details [#13706]

Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language


This paper shows the results of a study whose main goal was to observe a group of bilingual Spanish-English workers at the Communications Center of an American East Coast airport. Using certain ethnographic techniques, the author pays attention to their roles looking for clues that allowed me to address the following question: Is it possible to think of that particular group of bilingual employees as interpreters or translators? Such question involves a more complex issue: Can all bilinguals be considered interpreters or translators? It is here where the notion of formal training comes into play. Research suggests that some formal training in necessary communicative skills is paramount; but, at the same time, it acknowledges that some people are able to become interpreters or translators without any academic training, just through practice and experience. The author also considers the cultural dimension that affects every act of communication and reflects on the role that awareness of this dimension played in that particular setting. The findings suggest a misuse of the terms interpretation and translation; the conclusion of the study indicates that these employees can be considered interpreters or translators only on certain occasions. Regarding culture, two different perspectives were detected. Out of the two participants in the study, only one of them had a notion of culture, while the other subject did not have a clear idea of what culture meant, since she limited its definition to that of language.
Source : Based on BITRA/J.L. Martí Ferriol