Virtual presence, ethics, and videoconference interpreting : insights from court settings

Devaux, J 2017, 'Virtual presence, ethics, and videoconference interpreting : insights from court settings' , in: Translating conflict : ethics and ideology in public service interpreting and translation , Translation, Interpreting and Social Justice in a Globalised World , Multilingual Matters, Bristol.

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This article focuses on ethical issues arising from the use of videoconference interpreting in courts in England and Wales. It draws on a theoretical framework informed by Camayd-Freixas (2013) and four paradigms of ethics, namely: pre-existing rules, consequentialism, moral sentiments, and virtue ethics, which were applied to evaluations of his participation in the 2008 Postville immigration raid in the United States of America. The ethical problems and inner conflicts experienced as a result of a lack of “adequate guidance from (…) ethical codes” (Camayd-Freixas, 2013: 16) in this case allow parallels to be drawn with the situation in England and Wales where court interpreters are expected to abide by the National Register of Public Service Interpreters’ (NRPSI) Code of Professional Conduct. This code is designed to encompass a wide range of situations (from public service to conference interpreting) and modes (such as consecutive or simultaneous interpreting), but it does not contain any specific guidelines on Videoconference Interpreting (VCI) and its use in legal proceedings, despite the fact that videoconference systems have been promoted through legislation at national and European levels since 2000. The extent to which VCI affects the interpreter’s ability to rationalise their practice in relation to ethical issues remains unclear. Questions therefore arise as to the nature of perceived and actual ethical issues that occur in VCI, compared to face-to-face interpreted court hearing, which may also be affected by VCI in mode A (when the interpreter is present in the court room) or VCI in mode B (when the interpreter is with the witness or defendant at a remote location). The discussion is supported by findings from three semi-structured interviews conducted with court interpreters in England and Wales as part of a wider study designed to investigate perceptions of interpreter role and positioning in videoconference interpreted proceedings, and the tensions between prescribed codes of conduct and lived experience of interpreters as ethical practitioners.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Tipton, R and Valero-Garces, C
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Publisher: Multilingual Matters
Series Name: Translation, Interpreting and Social Justice in a Globalised World
ISBN: 9781783097517 (pbk.)
Related URLs:
Funders: Unknown
Depositing User: Jerome Devaux
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2016 09:26
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 20:36

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