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InZone presents at Seventh Annual International Translation Conference in Doha

Panel on "Interpreting Conflicts" features talk by Dr. Carmen Delgado

InZone’s Carmen Delgado Luchner recently presented at the Seventh Annual International Translation Conference at the Translation and Interpreting Institute (TII) of Hamad Ben Khalifa University in Doha, Qatar. The 2016 edition of the TII conference was entitled “Politics of Translation: Representations and Power.”

For the first time, this conference included a full panel on interpreting, which was very well attended by conference participants, including many TII students. The panel “Interpreting Conflicts” was chaired by Dr. Rachid Yahiaoui and included two presentations from the University of Geneva (Prof. Ruiz Rosendo, FTI and Dr. Delgado Luchner, InZone, FTI/GSI).

Carmen’s contribution focused on research methods for interpreting in particularly sensitive settings, including conflict, post-conflict, humanitarian emergency and development contexts. Many researchers have shown a keen interest in studying the role and working conditions of interpreters in these settings in recent years, however, the protection of research participants as well as the anonymisation of testimonies gathered from interpreters or users of interpreters has so far received little attention in the literature.

In order to uncover the challenges and specificities of interpreting in politically sensitive settings involving particularly vulnerable participants, researchers need to develop new approaches to anonymising and presenting data. In her talk entitled “Interpreting Politics: A Methodological Perspective” Carmen discussed the challenge of participant protection and presented a methodology that uses paradigmatic narratives, which put the voice of participants at the centre of the study, while simultaneously ensuring a high degree of anonymisation and participant protection.

The subsequent discussion confirmed that there is a great interest in humanitarian interpreting, both in terms of professional practice and research. Indeed, the wider MENA region has been afflicted by multiple conflicts in recent years and numerous NGOs operating in the region rely on interpreters for their work. Contributions by panel participants as well as members of the audience highlighted the fact that many of these “humanitarian interpreters” are currently untrained and thus insufficiently prepared for the challenges of interpreting in complex and sensitive environments.

Panel participants and members of the audience commended InZone’s pioneering work in the area of training for humanitarian interpreters, in particular the recent introduction of a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Interpreting. As far as training is concerned, there was widespread agreement that universities need to develop new approaches and think outside the box in order to reach the numerous “ad hoc interpreters” working on the ground. The suggestions brought up during the discussions include the development of short courses, self-contained online modules and the use of technology to enable interpreters to engage in training on the job.

The stimulating discussion showed that, alongside translation, interpreting is indeed a highly relevant topic in the MENA region. We would like to thank the organisers of the Seventh TII Conference for their hospitality, the excellent arrangements made for speakers and the overall quality of the conference. We look forward to seeing interpreting included in upcoming TII Conferences.

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