Making sense of adversarial interpreting

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This paper makes an ontological case for ‘adversarial interpreting’, which occurs in contexts where an interpreter’s output is monitored and/or challenged, either during the speech event or subsequently, by another interpreter or individual with knowledge of both languages in question. In the absence of studies with a specific focus on the phenomenon, the paper introduces adversarial interpreting as a problem in its own right and sets out to answer the question of how the presence of two interpreters, or an interpreter and a monitoring participant, in the same speech event impacts on the communication process. The discussion is informed by the findings of a study based on the analysis of an interpreter-mediated police interview transcript and input from practising interpreters with experience of adversarial interpreting. The findings indicate that adversarial interpreting can impact the communication process negatively but can also help ensure accuracy in the semantic transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
JournalLanguage and Law/Linguagem e Direito
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Este trabalho está licenciado com uma Licença Creative Commons - Atribuição-NãoComercial 4.0 Internacional.


  • adversarial interpreting
  • legal interpreting


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