From defensive interpreting to effective professional practices

Graham H. Turner, Brett Best

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    Debates over the changing – or perhaps we should more accurately say 'inconsistent' – role of the interpreter have taken up many published pages and hours of discussion in conferences, workshops and committees around the world for several decades. Sometimes, we can find new momentum for advances by looking laterally to other spheres of professional practice for inspiration – and, at times, this inspiration takes an unexpected form. We will argue in the discussion presented below that the concept of defensive medicine provides one such point of reference. We take this idea as a springboard from which we introduce a framework for understanding the maintenance of enculturated professional norms in interpreting (Tate & Turner 2002; Roy 2002). The decision to practice what we will describe, by analogy, as 'defensive interpreting'—whether subconsciously ingrained as an automatic behaviour or deliberately taken—is ultimately designed to serve the best interest of the practitioner rather than the consumer. In formulating this concept, we intend to enable a latent idea implied in the literature (Tate & Turner 2002; Dean 2014; Llewellyn-Jones & Lee 2013) to crystallise and become easily recognisable, facilitating the ability to identify certain decisions and navigate interpreter choices for action. Giving shape and name to the notion through our critique, we seek to lay the foundation necessary for the contrasting proposal of expository interpreting with a view to promoting informed, effective interpreted interactions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Changing Role of the Interpreter
    Subtitle of host publicationContextualising Norms, Ethics and Quality Standards
    EditorsMarta Biagini, Michael S. Boyd, Claudia Monacelli
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-62153-1
    ISBN (Print)978-1-13-865706-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Advances in Translation and Interpreting Studies


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