Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

In this extract from “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” the interpreter has a better idea of what is expected from an interpreter than the previous extracts. He relays the speech at the first person and doesn’t try to add any input. There are however a few variations from traditional interpretation. First, when the scene opens, the interpreter is giving a summary of his conversation with Sonja. He rightfully relays it in the third person to indicate that he is not doing consecutive interpretation at the time. These situations usually occur when a new participant has joined the conversation. It seems unlikely that the participants entered the conversation after it had already started and it feels more likely this has been done so the viewer could be up to speed without having to watch the beginning of the conversation. Later, you may notice that the pursuit of strict objectivity in the interpreter is missing when the person behind him asks “how did they arrange to meet?”, using the third person instead of the first. The speaker isn’t asking his question to the interviewee but to the interpreter himself. This is a natural tendency to speak directly to the person speaking and the interpreter should be the one trying to avoid this situation. Finally, the interpreter is positioned to make direct eye contact with the interviewee. Because of the context of the show (a police investigation show) and the speech, we could assume the interviewee is a victim or feels exposed and having her face the interpreter instead of the interviewers is done to comfort her. However, this may be a false help: if the interviewee feels comforted and develops a bond, it will be with the interpreter and not the interviewers.

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