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Formulating court interpreting models : a South African perspective

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dc.contributor.advisor Mollema, Nina,1965-
dc.contributor.advisor Ndhlovu, Ketiwe Lebese, Samuel Joseph 2019-03-08T05:51:30Z 2019-03-08T05:51:30Z 2018-07
dc.identifier.citation Lebese, Samuel Joseph (2018) Formulating court interpreting models : a South African perspective, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <>
dc.description.abstract Presently in South Africa there are no home-grown models of interpreting developed for court interpreters to serve as a guide in the performance of their duty. As such, it was assumed that court interpreters depended on international models to guide them in their work. International models, though they speak to the profession of interpreting in general, lack the specificity that is required to speak to the South African context, leading to problems during the process of interpreting. In the light of this background, this study aimed to: investigate how international models were formulated, by whom and why; establish how South African court interpreters perceive the phenomenon of interpreting and the challenges they encounter in the field; examine how the international models of interpreting function in the South African context and their impact in the courts of law; and formulate an interpreting model that is informed by South African languages, cultures and court experiences. Two theoretical frameworks guided this study: Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS) and Cultural Studies. The former was used to describe what transpires in the South African court system with regard to interpreting, while cultural studies theory was used to explore cultural issues in this field. In order to fulfil the aims of the study, the qualitative research method was adopted to collect and analyse data. Data was collected from practising court interpreters using four methods: focus groups, questionnaires, courtroom observations and interviews. The selected methods were used to collect data so that a balanced and integrated view of interpreting could be sought for the purposes of developing a representative model. The findings of the study showed that there is a fairly balanced representation of men and women working as court interpreters, yet more than three quarters of these are not trained in languages and in court interpreting. This points to an urgent need to train court interpreters so that they may carry out their duties effectively. In defining a court interpreter, diverse definitions were provided; these included facilitator of communication, language facilitator, conveyor of messages, helper in the courts, and mediator among others. Most of these definitions were in line with international models but the definitions were born out of experience and not training because, when asked directly what interpreting models are, almost none of the participants could define a model and gave examples of modes of interpreting in place of models per se. Because models of interpreting serve as a guide for the court interpreters, a lack of knowledge thereof shows that South African court interpreters work without guidance, emphasising the need to develop a local model that addresses the needs of the country. In defining court interpreting, diverse definitions were also provided; the most interesting was the perception of court interpreting as a communication process that involves listening, analysing, taking down notes, remembering, and presenting the message to the target listener. Although not many held this view, this definition showed that through experience and practice, court interpreters gain useful knowledge about their trade; thus, experience cannot be downplayed in the field. With regard to the roles and duties of court interpreters, it was noted that they perform different duties which are in conflict with their job title. Beyond the fact that this proves that there is controversy over the duties of court interpreters, the findings show that court interpreters are not treated as the professionals that they are. In line with the findings, the researcher developed a socio-linguistic-cultural model that put emphasis on training of court interpreters, language, culture and subject knowledge. The method of trial and error that is currently prevailing in South Africa was strongly condemned in the study. The study recommended that court interpreters be trained, the DoJCD should recruit qualified interpreters, legislation on court interpreting should be developed as well as setting up a court interpreting professional body to which all court interpreters must subscribe and be members, among others. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (158 leaves)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Interpreter en
dc.subject Court interpreter en
dc.subject Court interpreting en
dc.subject Interpreting en
dc.subject Model of interpreting en
dc.subject.lcsh 347.16068
dc.subject.lcsh Court interpreting and translating -- South Africa en
dc.subject.lcsh Translating and interpreting -- South Africa en
dc.title Formulating court interpreting models : a South African perspective en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department Linguistics and Modern Languages en D. Litt. et Phil.(Languages, Linguistics and Literature)

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