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January 10, 2005

it's getting good!

Tom Cheesman turned me on to Marilyn Martin-Jones. :-) I've yet to actually land a specific person in the Berlin area but the list of names and network of contacts keeps growing. Very exciting!

She and Tom were in contact about asylum issues with (lack of) interpreting. Tom wrote that he's been "getting heavily involved in local voluntary work with refugees (see www.hafan.org). This brings me up against the realities very sharply (sheer lack of interpreters / translators, lack of funding for such services in legal, medical and other critical contexts, huge harm done by unethical and incompetent practitioners and lack of understanding of translationissues among service providers, reliance on children, friends... Also growing reliance by organisations on telephone services which are rarely satisfactory from clients' p.o.v.). "

This mirrors some of the concerns I heard at Critical Link 4, and parallels development of ASL/English interpreting here in the U.S. I was reminded, though, also, of concerns with imposing a culturally western form of "professionalism" on other cultures who may organize and make sense of their organization differently. So I want to stay attentive to possibilities that these issues may have different resolutions in different cultures. For instance, I have no idea how "collectivist" or "intra-family interdependent" Turkish culture is, or about the influence of Islam on notions of proper ways to deal with issues like incompetence, misrepresentation, access, etc.

On another note, this review of Heller and Martin-Jones' work in bilingual classrooms mentions inequities in turn-taking and code-switching. I'm not sure its the same kind of thing that is my "opening" into group dynamics with sign language interpreting and the Deaf/non-deaf dynamics, but it looks quite interesting. Doesn't seem to involve interpreting, but there may still be parallels to be drawn.

Posted by Steph at January 10, 2005 7:59 AM

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