Browsing The Interpreters' Newsletter n. 21 - 2016 by Issue Date
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- PublicationThe Interpreters' Newsletter n. 21/2016. Interpreting and interpreters throughout history(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016)Founded in 1988 as the first journal on Interpreting Studies, The Interpreters’ Newsletter publishes contributions covering theoretical and practical aspects of interpreting.
- PublicationGoing back to Ancient Egypt: were the Princes of Elephantine really ‘overseers of dragomans’?(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016)Falbo, CaterinaAmong the different titles the Princes of Elephantine had, that of “overseers of dragomans” has drawn the attention of researchers in the history of interpretation. This title has always appeared as a recognition of the status and importance interpreters enjoyed in Ancient Egypt. The denomination “overseer of dragomans” is the translation that Sir Alan Gardiner proposed of inscriptions found in different regions of Ancient Egypt, among which the island of Elephantine. In 1960, Goedicke criticised Gardiner’s translation on the basis of historical and linguistic reasons. His objections, unknown to the Interpreting Studies community until today, seem to deny the role of the Princes of Elephantine as “overseers of dragomans”.
- PublicationSign language and interpreting: a diachronic symbiosis(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016)Kellett Bidoli, CynthiaIn the past when deaf people had no opportunity to learn to read, write or even speak, the aid of ad hoc ‘interpreters’ was the only means available to communicate with the hearing. This paper seeks to inform practitioners and researchers of spoken language interpreting a little about the historical evolution of interpreting for deaf individuals, about deafness, sign language use, historical developments in deaf education and the emergence of professional sign language interpreting.
- PublicationInterpreting in Estonia in geopolitically changed Europe (1944-1991)(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016)Sibul, KarinThis article aims to provide insight into interpreting in Estonia from 1944 to 1991, during the years when it was part of the Soviet Union. The author worked with Estonian archival film and photo collections in order to establish the use of interpreting in Estonia after World War II. The earliest footage of simultaneous interpretation discovered is from an Estonia-related event in Moscow in August 1940. The visual proof collected and interviews with interpreters allow the author to conclude that interpretation was used to facilitate communication between Russian- and Estonian-speaking communities.
- PublicationRuston: the foundational case for interpreting with deaf parties in Anglo-American courtrooms(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016)Leahy, Anne M.Though not the first legal matter to admit a sworn signed language interpreter, this precedent-setting case that codified early protocols of courtroom interpreting for deaf parties under common law in Great Britain and the United States was heard in the London Central Criminal Court in 1786. During a larceny trial, a woman endured such an adversarial voir dire process, that it cleared the procedural hurdles of that day to admit her deaf brother as a witness for the prosecution, and she was permitted to act as his interpreter. Supported by the sitting justice, her insightful answers to a belligerent defense counsel, and nuanced interpreting of witness testimony elevated the citation into the Anglo-American legal lexicon as “Ruston’s Case.” Named as such for the deaf witness and not the defendant, it has influenced centuries of legal signed language interpreting case law and practice.
- PublicationInterpreters, photography and memory: Rabinovitch’s private archive(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016)Baigorri-Jalón, JesúsThe aim of this paper is to reflect briefly on newly found sources which contribute to rebuild the history of the Rabinovitch family of interpreters, focusing mostly on Georges, who became United Nations (UN) chief interpreter in 1947. The subject fits into the Italian tradition of microhistory, as part of a chapter in the narrative of a story which unfolds in the realm of a family but connects with larger-scale events. The geopolitical and social consequences of those events, particularly the two World Wars, shaped the lives of the characters and institutions I am approaching here. My inquiry protocols include conventional history records – in physical or digital format; personal interviews – a blend of oral history and memory – with Joana Rabinovitch, G. Rabinovitch’s daughter; and photographic image analysis, where my positioning as a present observer of past images is unavoidably distant in time and place, far from neutral, and in need of guidance from the holder of the photographs. The essay shows a sample of the sources as interpreted by the author. Additionally, the paper touches on the importance of private archives for historical research.
- PublicationCowboys, Indians and Interpreters. On the controversial role of interpreters in the conquest of the American West(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016)Brambilla, EmanueleDuring the nineteenth century, the United States Government engaged in frenetic negotiations with Native American tribes to persuade them to relinquish their sacred homelands by signing treaties. At these treaty negotiations, resulting in either the ethnic cleansing or the relocation of Indian tribes, interpreters were regularly present to enable communication between Native Americans and English-speaking government officials. The analysis of selected essays on the history of American Indians has provided insights into the role of interpreters in nineteenth-century America, revealing that they exerted considerable political power by acting as diplomats for the U.S. Government. After outlining the nature of interpreting in Indian-white relations, the paper focuses on land treaty negotiations between the U.S. Government and the Sioux tribes, depicting the two emblematic characters of ‘interpreters’ Charles Picotte and Samuel Hinman, who played an active role in the bloody conquest of the American West.
- PublicationDiffering skills of interpreters in Portuguese India(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016)Mullender, GarryBy piecing together the many but scattered references to linguistic and cultural mediation in contemporary sources, some of which were first-hand accounts, we can build a picture of interpreters and interpreting during the Portuguese voyages of discovery and their early quests in India and the East. Linguistic and cultural mediators were not held in high regard, with convicts or slaves, regardless of hether or not they possessed the requisite language skills, often being forced into this role when it involved dangerous tasks such as gathering intelligence and making the very first contact with new peoples. They thus developed survival skills, in particular, to tread a fine line between the two camps, which in turn aroused suspicions about their loyalty, a prime consideration for the Portuguese. Subsequently, with the increase of missionary activity, another group of interpreters developed with quite different characteristics: they had to be Christian and of good moral standing, have a good grasp of Portuguese and be eloquent speakers of their native languages, in which they had to express novel religious concepts. Even though the Jesuits paid attention to their technical abilities and rovided training, like the Portuguese administration, they also judged their interpreters’ effectiveness on the extent to which their substantive goals were achieved. Interior poses unique challenges to in-house professional translators as they endeavour to convey the “voice” of the public administration to a large and diverse international audience of practitioners and private citizens who interact with the Ministry for various reasons on a daily basis. Starting from an overview of foreign language services provided by the Ministry’s staff linguists, this paper focuses on translation services and explores in detail text types, clients and readership and the special challenges represented by L2 translation along with the strategies and practices adopted by staff translators to cater for the specific translation needs of both central and peripheral offices of the Interior Ministry. To illustrate all this, the two authors have drawn extensively on their own daily experience as staff linguists within two different structures of the Ministry, namely the Criminal Police Directorate in Rome and the Police Headquarters of Gorizia, offering a number of practical examples of translation of Italian texts into English, their L2 and the preferred choice for almost the totality of the Ministry’s communication needs.
- PublicationConference interpreting in the Third Reich(EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2016)Kieslich, Charlotte P.The present study examines the actual working conditions of professional interpreters in National Socialist Germany. By using authentic historical material, the recruitment, preparation and general organisation of interpreter assignments at the Eleventh International Penal and Penitentiary Congress (IPPC) in Berlin in August 1935 will be reconstructed. The study sheds light on how strongly the regime influenced the actual work of conference interpreters. To the Nazi leadership, the IPPC was a welcome propaganda opportunity to promote parts of their political agenda. The IPPC’s language staff also became a means to this end. At the same time, the study shows how professional the approach to conference interpreter assignments was in Germany as early as the 1930s.