Schouten, B, Ross, J., Zendedel, R., & Meeuwesen, L. (2012). Informal interpreters in medical settings: A comparative socio-cultural study of the Netherlands and Turkey. The Translator, 18(2), 311-338. doi: 10.1080/13556509.2012.10799513

Abstract: Between 2008 and 2010, academics in five European countries collaborated on an EU-funded project, Training Intercultural and Bilingual Competences in Health and Social Care (TRICC). Among TRICC’s aims was to deepen understanding of informal interpreting through eliciting the perspectives of interpreters themselves. To identify commonalities and differences in the experiences, attitudes and practices of informal interpreters in distinct settings, the Dutch and Turkish partners interviewed 15 young migrant adults in the Netherlands and 15 Kurdish speakers in Istanbul respectively, asking them about emotional and technical aspects of interpreting, and about their expectations and roles, communicative challenges and actions. Thematic analysis of the 30 interviews corroborated the findings of previous research – namely, that informal interpreters are highly visible, use diverse communicative strategies, adopt various roles, and occasionally speak as primary interlocutors. Noticeable differences between the two sets of interpreters included their attitudes towards interpreting and their preferences for informal versus professional interpreting, both of which can be better understood in the light of the cultural backgrounds of the interpreters and the institutional and political frameworks within which they interpret. This comparative study appears to support Angelelli’s (2004a) claim that interpreted events are heavily influenced by socio-political and cultural contexts.