Interpreting as a Discourse Process

By Cynthia B. Roy | Go to book overview

7
Turn Exchanges in an Interpreted
Professor-Student Conference

Turns

In professional discussions, papers, books, and pamphlets about interpreting, there is a largely underlying assumption that if speakers are talking back and forth, interpreters should make it possible for them to seem as if they are talking directly to one another. Although it may be possible at times for speakers to feel as if they are talking directly to each other, they are not. They are always exchanging speaking turns with the interpreter.

In interpreted conversations, just as in ordinary discourse, turns can be analyzed in terms of their structural characteristics. And, again as in ordinary discourse, some turns cannot be accounted for solely in terms of structural qualities. Some turns come about because participants take turns for reasons congruent with their roles. Turns are complex exchanges because, although the intent and content of a turn originates with each speaker, the interpreter has to allocate and manage the conversational exchange.

Turns are complicated entities because, upon hearing or seeing utterances whose meaning resides in other than linguistic form, interpreters have to make decisions from a range of possible choices. Choices have to include appropriate lexical and grammatical features, layered social meanings, possibilities for transition, and possibilities to elicit a response from yet another range of possible responses. Choosing an appropriate interpretation also depends on factors such as the relative status of the speakers and desired outcomes for the situation. For example, suppose a supervisor asks an employee this question: "Would you mind

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Interpreting as a Discourse Process
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • 1 - Prologue 3
  • 2 - Discourse 9
  • 3 - Translation and Interpretation 23
  • 4 - Turn-Taking as a Discourse Process 36
  • Summary 38
  • 5 - Analyzing Interpreted Encounters 40
  • 6 - The Meeting and the Participants 53
  • 7 - Turn Exchanges in an Interpreted Professor-Student Conference 67
  • 8 - Role Performance in an Interpreted Discourse Process 101
  • 9 - Epilogue 122
  • Notes 129
  • Bibliography 133
  • Index 139
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