Interpreting for people who do not speak a common language is a linguistic and social act of communication, and the interpreter's role in this process is an engaged one, directed by knowledge and understanding of the entire communicative situation, including fluency in the languages, competence in appropriate usage within each language, and in managing the cross-cultural flow of talk. Within the last decade, researchers have begun to examine the process of interpreting as embedded within a process of verbal interaction, a conversational process of people talking to each other through an interpreter, or, as I will call it here, a discourse process. Although the term discourse has come into wide use and is associated with a variety of disciplines, we get the first use of the term from linguistics ( Harris 1952). In linguistics, discourse analysis is a familiar term generated from several branches of linguistics, often referring to analyzing "language beyond the sentence."
This book is about applying the linguistic approaches of discourse analysis to the analytical study of interpreting-about studying interpreting-as discourse, a process of conversational exchanges between two primary speakers and through an interpreter. It is also about examining how an interpreter manages the discourse process between two participants who do not speak the same language. The goals of this book are threefold: to offer a definition of interpreted events in general based on a discourse framework; to describe, analyze, and interpret the turn-taking exchanges in one interpreted event; and to discuss, from the analysis of one role performance, an interpreter's role as it is performed in interaction