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Abstract

Canvassing views through a questionnaire-based online survey of 25 lawyers and 85 interpreters working in Australia, the present study investigates the approaches to interactional management employed by both lawyers and interpreters in interpreter-facilitated legal aid interviews. Specifically, the study examines lawyers' and interpreters' efforts at coordination before and during interpreted interviews, as well as interpreters' success in complying with ethical principles, and lawyers' knowledge of how to work with interpreters. The findings show that lawyers had a good understanding of their responsibilities when working with interpreters and played the role of coordinator by actively managing turn-taking and monitoring interpreting quality. Although most of the interpreter respondents performed to the ethical standards expected, some knowingly violated ethical principles by engaging in side conversations with the clients or by summarising rather than interpreting fully. The study further found statistically significant correlations between interpreters' level of professional qualifications and their competence in managing interactions and following ethical principles, which highlights the importance of training and professional accreditation for maintaining professional standards among interpreters.

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