Turn-Taking as a Discourse Process
Turn-taking is a basic, specific discourse property that can be observed, described, analyzed, and explicated. Examining turns during an interpreted conversation offers a still new, relatively unexplored, empirical insight into interpreting as a discourse process. Turn-taking in interpreting has unique and complex features that actively involve the interpreter in organizing, managing, constraining, and directing the flow of talk. Interpreters make decisions to manage and orchestrate turns due to and because of the surface linguistic meanings and the social meanings inherent in the situation and its expectations. Moreover, all the participants are taking turns based on both signals within the language and based on their own sense of rights and obligations when talking.
Any observer of face-to-face interaction can see that talk proceeds through a sequence of turns. The Sacks, Schegloff, and Jefferson ( 1974) study posits this observation as one of the basic tenets of conversation. Although it appears effortless, turn-taking is a system that organizes speaker change and its recurrence. The Sacks, Schegloff, and Jefferson model has been applied to many languages; thus an application of the Sacks et al. model to interpreting, talking across languages, might uncover a similar, generalized system and rules. The turn-taking model is also applicable