RSS feed

Valero Garcés, C. & Mancho Barés, G. (eds.) (2002) Traducción e Interpretación en los Servicios Públicos: Nuevas realidades para nuevas necesidades // Community Interpreting and Translating: New Needs for New Realities.

Universidad de Alcalá: Servicio de Publicaciones. ISBN: 84-8138-490-9.
Number of pages: 284 plus CD ROM
Price: 15 €

Community Interpreting and Translating: New needs for new realities reproduces the talks delivered at the I Congreso Nacional de Traducción e Interpretación en Los Servicios Públicos, organised by the University of Alcalá (Spain) from 21 to 22 February 2002. Both in print and in CD ROM, it offers 35 papers covering different aspects of community interpreting and translation (cross-cultural communication, terminology and register, power relationships, interpreter role, responsibility and training, institutions and recruitment criteria, pilot projects, regional or local surveys, etc.).

The aim of this conference was to gather professionals and experts from all over the world to exchange views, research results and experience in this field, as well as to address the new needs that societies and translation trainers and practitioners face as a result of new social and intercultural realities. By so doing, the conference contributed a great deal to doing justice to community interpreting and translation, which, apart from a few published works and conferences like the First BABELEA Conference on Community Interpreting, held in Vienna in 1999, have been neglected and given much less importance than the other translation and interpreting branches. As Putignano (2002: 215), one of the participants in the conference, states, "Community interpreting has been practised from time immemorial, yet it is the least prestigious and the most misunderstood branch of the interpreting profession...".

Experts and practitioners from different countries (Spain, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Australia, the United States, Morocco, Democratic Republic of Congo, Great Britain, etc.) delivered valuable theoretical and field research contributions that have been reproduced in one volume/CD ROM. The talks are introduced by Carmen Valero Garcés and Guzmán Mancho Barés, the conference coordinators and book editors, and divided into four sections:

· The first one (after the Preface and Introduction) includes the contributions of two researchers and specialists of world renown: Ann Corsellis (Institute of Linguistics, England) and Helge Niska (Stockholm University, Sweden).

· Contributions about translation and interpreting in Spanish Public Services: including talks by Anne Martin and Isabel Abril Martí, Carmen Valero Garcés, José Alberto Luis Estévez and Carmen Toledano Buendía, Luis Pérez González, José Martín del Pozo, Ana Isabel Foulquié, Mohamed El-Madkouri and Beatriz Soto Aranda.

· Contributions about translation and interpreting in Public Services (Community Translation and Interpreting) abroad: including talks by Jan Cambridge, Mette Rudvin, Brett A. Rosenberg and many others.

· Professionalizing the work of translators and interpreters: talks by Javier Ortiz García, Pilar Orero, Veronica Vivanco and others.

The two contributions included in the first section seem to provide the reader with a good representative sample of the content, variety and depth of the academic and fieldwork contributions that the book/CD ROM comprises. In the first paper entitled "Creating a Professional Context for Public Service Interpreters and Translators", Ann Corsellis offers "an overview of what is needed to create a viable professional context" for community interpreters and translators. In the second, Helge Niska introduces us into the community interpreter's real-time service and one of the major challenges it poses: terminology.

The section about Community Translation and Interpreting in Spain offers interesting views about and insight into the role of community interpreters in bridging the communication gap in multicultural or multilingual societies (Madkouri, Martin, Valero), as well as "insider" information and expertise about interpreting in specific institutions like Courts and Police Stations (Pérez, Martín del Pozo, Foulquié): state of the art in Spain, certification, recruitment, problems, etc.

The following section, "Contributions about translation and interpreting in Public Services abroad" comprises, on the one hand, a selection of important issues such as the pressures on interpreters, professionalisation of the individual, code of conduct, direct and indirect speech and, on the other, a selection of projects, initiatives and experiences from different parts of the world.

The last section includes papers covering a wide range of interesting subjects that go beyond the realm of community translation and interpreting. Javier Ortiz García addresses the issue of translation quality assessment and the translator-client relationship. Pilar Orero deals with a relatively new specialization in translation, namely audiovisual translation (subtitling, dubbing, voice-over and multimedia). With "Egg Insulator or Aislador de Nuez", a paper on metaphor in technical translation, Veronica Vivanco adds to the richness of this conference, and so do the other papers about translation problems caused by specialized registers of English, translation in the Regional Government of Galicia (Spain), problems in legal German-Spanish translation and features of legal English.

To sum up, this collection of papers adds a great deal to the community translation and interpreting bibliography. The variety of subjects, the different experiences and points of view, in addition to the multidisciplinary contributions and approaches (translation and interpreting trainers, intercultural communication experts, community translators and interpreters, sworn translators, social workers, etc.), all this makes it a valuable contribution.


Harris, B. (1990): "Norms in interpretation". Target, 2,1, pp. 115-119.

Pöchhacker, F. (2000): "The Community Interpreter's Task: Self-perception and Provider Views" in Roberts, R. et al. (eds). The Critical Link 2: Interpreters in the Community. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Putignano, S. (2002): "Community Interpreting in Italy: A Selection of Initiatives " in Valero Garcés, C. and Mancho Barés, G. (eds). Community Interpreting and Translating: New Needs for New Realities. Madrid: Universidad de Alcalá de Henares.

Roberts, R. (1997): "Community Interpreting Today and Tomorrow" in Carr, S. et al. (eds). The Critical Link: Interpreters in Community. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

By Mustapha Taibi (Universidad de Alcalá)