Presentation on theme: "Use of Interpreters in Mediation"— Presentation transcript:
1Use of Interpreters in Mediation Dr. Xiaohui Yuan
2Translation vs. Interpretation Translation: writing modeInterpretation: oral modeContexts:Liaison interpretation vs. Conference interpretationModes:Simultaneous vs. Consecutive
3Mediators’ expectations ‘the crucial point is that the interpreter must maintain neutrality. They must not add their own spin to what is being translated but at the same time must be skilful in conveying the nuances of what is being said’An emotional female mediator: ‘I told him to just translate what is said. No more! No less! But he seldom did!’
4Do you really want your interpreter to just translate verbatim?
5Why is my interpreter not translating exactly what the person said? A professional interpreter will make efforts to bridge cultural differences. Interpreters may take initiatives to protect a party’s face and emotional needs to defuse potential conflicts or to enhance rapport by adding their own spin. Very importantly, interpreters are interaction mediators by profession. They are not just language switchers.
6Tip: Show that you understand your interpreter may add spin in the interpretation to mitigate conflicts and build rapport. Tell him/her to what extent you’d think this is appropriate and whether and how you’d want him/her to translate a party’s explosive comments or emotional outbursts.You may want to use the corridor time to learn from your interpreter the party’s uncoloured utterance since it could be important information helping you judge the progress of the mediation process.
7Differences between an arbitration/litigation interpreter and a mediation interpreter Arbitration/Litigation: a more rigid and pre-set procedure with a heavy focus on legal and technical aspectsMediation: a more flexible procedure with a strong focus on interpersonal dynamics and rapport management
8Interpretation for arbitration/litigation: More accessible resources for preparation, such as written witness statementSimpler role definition for an interpreterVerbatim interpretation sufficient for most occasionsInterpreter agrees to translate accurately (like a witness swears on the Bible)
9Interpretation for Mediation Much more unpredictable interpersonal dynamics unfolding on the spotMuch more complicated role definition for an interpreterDue to the interactional features, verbatim interpretation is not enough
10External factors that can cause problems for interactions Any conflict of interests between the interpreter and a partyTherefore, don’t use a party’s relative or lawyer
12External factors that can cause problems in interpretation How is your relationship with the interpreter?Make efforts to build rapport and trust with your interpreter before the mediationEnsure the interpreter’s reasonable working condition, e.g., reminding parties of not talking over each other
13External factors that can cause problems in interpretation Do you know your interpreter’s style? Are you aware whether your interpreter is familiar with mediation procedures and rules?Don’t assume that! An interpreter is Jack of all trades. S/he may have just completed a medical interpreting the day before!
14Interpreters do perceive themselves as having the role of distributing turns of talking
15Tip: Work out before the mediation with your interpreter what kinds of role you’d like him/her to take on.
16Your interpreter may know or spot important interpersonal information in body language that you may not realise.
18Reading Body LanguageBritish: a few grunts and groans half-hearted attempt to laugh heard the words but not really listening scant engagement and little eye contact stiff and upright gestures constantly looked down playing with the stem of his wine glass a nervous cough
19Chinese: sincere manner facial expression shows he’s sorry, pain + reluctance no mood for lunch listened with patience
20Tip: your interpreter may well come from the same cultural background as the party, so s/he may well be able to recognise important interpersonal information, e.g., a certain attitude, mood or intention that you cannot identify. Do talk to your interpreters about it.
21Do use interpreters and do use Human interpreters You would be jeopardising the minority language party’s interests! This can mean you automatically break the rule of neutrality by putting more advantage to one side!Don’t try to avoid using interpreters because you don’t like them for whatever righteous reasons you believe.
22Make sure you use a human interpreter. The machine cannot do the job!
23Let’s recapAdd all the dos and don’ts. Its boring. Its prescriptive. But I want you to leave with some points to consider.
24DOs Before the mediation: Do choose a trained interpreter with professional certificate Do make efforts to build rapport and trustwith your interpreterDo strive to understand your interpreter’spersonality and styleDo clearly brief your interpreter mediationrules including: neutrality and confidentialityDo tell your interpreter clearly how you wanthim/her to interpret
25During the mediationDo take advantage of your interpreter’sbi-cultural capabilityDo respect your interpreter and befriendlyDo make sure of your interpreter’sreasonable working conditions
26Time to formulate a code of conduct for mediation interpreters Time to formulate a code of conduct for mediation interpreters. You can make a real difference with this!Let’s formalise the profession of mediation interpreting.
27DON’TsDon’t go with party’s suggestion of using a relative or a lawyerDon’t assume your interpreter will act merely as a language switcherDon’t assume your interpreter is familiar with the mediation process even if s/he worked in litigation/arbitration beforeDon’t be too friendly
28Rule of ThumbMake sure you use interpreters when one party cannot sufficiently speak the working language used for mediationMake sure you use qualified trained and professional interpreters from recognised organisations, such asITI (The Institute of Translation and Interpreting)AIIC (International Association of Conference Interpreters)