Translating accurately or sounding natural? The interpreters’ challenges due to semantic typology and the interpreting process

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Police interview interpreting is a complex task, as interpreters make difficult choices under pressure and time constraints. The main dilemma of the interpreter is whether to remain faithful to the original text, with the risk of rendering non-idiomatic translations, or to give preference to more idiomatic versions that may entail an addition or an omission from the original text. This article presents an analysis of Spanish-English bilingual police interviews in California. The analysis is based on the discrepancies found between an interpreter present in the interrogation and a control interpreter. This is an original methodology that can be used for future research in this and other contexts. The results show different types of inaccuracies in the interpretation, which can be attributed to contextual pressures and overall challenges of interpreting and to challenges related to typological differences
between the two languages involved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-95
JournalPragmatics and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


    Research areas

  • police interviews, interpreting, transcribing, Applied Language Typology, register, Spanish-English interpreting

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