Next round of questions – Strasbourg Week 2

These are the questions which previous interviews suggest. They may yield empirical evidence for the kinds of issues raised by Blommaert about mobility, resources, indexicality, pretextualization, and entextualization (or variations thereof):
1. Where &emdash; which settings/contexts &emdash; do you interpret the most?
2. Which do you like the least/most?
3. Which are most/least challenging and how does this correlate with your enjoyment of the work?

Delegates’ use of language:
4. Statements said &emdash; empirical
5. Discontinuities &emdash; gaps, disjunctures, breakdowns
6. Aims (engagement here vs media coverage at home)
a. Intended
b. Actual
7. Changes over time?
a. past
b. present
c. what is missing/what do you miss (in interlocutors’ language production)
8. Changes because of context?
a. Groups
b. Committees
c. Plenaries
d. Missions
e. Audience
9. Evidence of inequality
a. choice (freedom, free will)
b. constraints (system, context, role…)
c. place, space, role of creativity? (MEPs, delegates, officials…)
d. accepted, embraced or rejected, denied?
e. Ways of speaking that counter the institution’s norms? [hidden transcripts]
f. Range of stances &emdash; affect, epistemic, (88) [“rational”, “emotive”]
10. Orientations to (production of) knowledge
11. “Iconicity” &emdash; expectations/models delegates etc are “supposed” to meet/satisfy
12. What consequences when expectations/models are not met?
Interpreters’ parameters:
13. Choice &emdash; omissions, inclusions, creatitivity
14. Variables (type of meeting, personality of speaker, sentiment in the booth/among the team…)
15. Range of stances &emdash; clues, latitude to adjust (e.g., toward perception of intended aims)
16. Techniques &emdash; patterns in your interpretations (features, style…)
17. Regime(s)
18. Interpreting as pivot, how does this affect/influence your production? (What would it be like if interlocutors considered the interpreter as part of their audience?)
In sum:
19. When is linguistic difference difference, and when is it inequality?
20. How does language actually work here (EP)? What does it do (function)? What does it accomplish (effectivity, efficacy)?
21. How much influence does the language regime at Parliament have on
a. other EU institutions?
b. notion of “Europe”; identifying as “European”?
It may also be of interest to ask interpreters to read and think out loud about this statement by Blommaert:
“The functions of which particular ways of speaking will perform, and the functions of the particular linguistic resources by means of which they are accomplished, become less and less a matter of surface inspection in terms of commonsense linguistic categories (e.g., ‘is this English?’), and some of the biggest errors (and injustices) may be committed by simply projecting locally valid functions onto the ways of speaking of people who are involved in transnational flows” (72).

4 thoughts on “Next round of questions – Strasbourg Week 2”

  1. Steph, you really have read it microscopically, haven’t you? I’m most flattered.

  2. Well, there’s always the challenge of actually applying it then, isn’t there?! 😉

  3. 🙂
    Sometimes I am lost too. Yesterday evening, standing on the platform at Maelbeek, I caught myself “rotating” – feet firmly planted but body twisting first right, then left, then right. Rhythmically. As if being turned in one way, then the other, back and forth and back and forth.
    It is just a wild hypothesis, but only a couple of hours earlier I had been musing on what Bakhtin calls the centripetal and centrifugal forces of language. Language (in the form of discourse) can FORCE us (individually) to follow a certain logic, and language can also FORCE us (in groups) to disperse along myriad other logics. If a person is caught up in a particular discourse trajectory, it can be wicked tough to get inside another one. Sometimes we (I generalize my own experience to all/most human beings, because I am sure I am not unique) cannot even perceive another way of thinking. Or, like an MEP I spoke with yesterday, we might not be able to take it in: “I never thought about it that way,” he said, and then continued to talk about the way he normally thinks of it. “It” being the temporal dimension of simultaneous interpretation as a cultural communication practice.
    Soon after that, in conversation with another MEP, I lost the ability to formulate coherent thoughts two or three different times. Seconds-long pauses punctuated the conversation as I groped for the ideas I have said so many times before! Why could I not recall them? My mind was blank: trapped, you could say, at the core of a logic I’m trying to question, but so close to it that the possibility of alternative thinking was simply shut off.
    Those were some uncomfortable moments!

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