Louise Brunette, Georges Bastin, Isabelle Hemlin and Heather Clarke (eds.) (2003). The Critical Link 3. Interpreters in the community.
Amsterdam/Philadephia: John Benjamins, pp. 359.
ISBN: 90 272 1652 5. € 99
ISBN: 1 58811 454 6. USD $ 119.00.
Critical Link 3. Interpreters in the Community contains selected papers from the Third International Conference on Interpreting in Legal, Health, and Social Service Settings, held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in May 2001. The Conference theme was "Interpreting in the community: The complexity of the profession", and the selection offered in this book clearly reflects the very complex challenge faced by interpreters. The book is divided into five sections which include a diverse collection of articles. The first part ("Theory and Practice") includes three papers that bring together theory, research and practice approaching the interpreter as a visible, socially defined and a genuine participant in conversations and not as an impartial, invisible professional. Each author (Claudia Angelelli, Hanneke Bot, and Lynne Eighinger & Ben Karlin) chooses a different setting to conduct the research: psychotherapeutic setting, feminist approach, and interpreters of different language combinations and background attending the 40th American Translators Association Congress.
The second section ("The Interpreter and Others: Compromise and Collaboration") deals with the relations interpreters establish with others. It includes three papers by Bélanger, Meyer et.al. and Tebble. The paper by Bélanger presents an empirical study on communication mediated by a sign language interpreter; the second study, conducted by Meyer Apfelbaum, Pöchhaker and Bischoff, proposes a triadic model based on interpreting studies, sociology and linguistics to analyse interaction in a medical setting with a doctor , a patient and an ad hoc interpreter. Helen Tebble, from Australia, describes in the last paper of this section the training material "Medical Interpreting – Improving Communication with Your Patient", its development and implementation in a training course for doctors to work effectively with interpreters.
Section three ("Interpreter Training: New Realities, New Needs, New Challenges") is dedicated to the interpreter training. It contains six articles on the issue of skill development and evaluation. They offer information from different countries and settings: Medical interpreters in Massachussets, USA (Beltran Avery); community interpreters in Denmark (Dubslaff nad Martinsen); interpreters in Canada's aboriginal languages which do not have written material (Oda and Joyette); interpreters in extraordinary circumstances such as domestic violence; development of a university-level certificate and a diploma in the new British society (Straker and Watts) and in Spain (Valero-Garcés).
Section four ("The Legal System and the Role of the Court Interpreter: A Dual Dilemma") is dedicated to legal systems and the role of the court interpreter. It contains four papers each one analysing a different type of problem and in a different country: police-witness communication in UK (Fowler); the situation of court interpreting and work conditions of its interpreters in Malaysia (Ibrahim and Bell); findings of an investigation regarding one kind of modification in particular (additions) in Danish courtrooms (Jakobsen); and the analysis of the new role of the interpreter in the Criminal Procedure Code in Venezuela (Vilela Biasi).
The fifth and final section ("Complex Profession, Professional Complexity") contains four articles dealing with professional practice and its complexity and written by experienced scholars and professionals of community interpreting such as Crezee from New Zeland; Bowen and Kaufert from Canada; Chesher from Australia; and Corsellis and her team from United Kingdom. Cultural barriers found in daily situations; assessing costs and consequences in using interpreters in healthcare programs; the interpreters' own perceptions of the nature of community-based interpreting; protection for interpreters working in life-threatening situations such as war-torn regions; and the outcome of the European Union Grotius Programme, created to harmonize the standards of legal interpreting within the new European paradigm. This program is now finished and the results published in the volume Aequitas. Access to Justice across Language and Culture in the EU (Erik Hertog (ed), Lessius Hogeschool, Antwerpen (2001).
The variety of topics, situations, modes of training and geographical diversity certainly appeal to the complexity of interpreting activity in legal, health and social services settings. I am sure that the editors' hope that these articles would provide food for thought and enhance the professional practice of those who read them will be fulfilled. For those interested in Community Interpreting, a look at the bibliography section ("Works cited") is essential. References to Critical Link 1 and Critical Link 2 are included. And in May 2004, the Conference Critical Link 4 will be held in Stockholm.
University of Alcalá, Madrid, Spain