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Interpreting for minors in legal settings

López-Pelén, Eddie (2024) Interpreting for minors in legal settings. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

The questioning of vulnerable individuals such as minors requires special training and a particular set of skills for the encounter to be conducted in a child-sensitive fashion. While it is known that in many instances interpreters and professionals working in legal settings lack training in how to work with minors and that their approach is not always child-sensitive, the patterns of practice in interpreter-mediated encounters with minors in different settings within the same legal system have not yet been addressed by empirical research in interpreting studies. Anchored in Heideggerian phenomenology, this study aims to find out about, in Heidegger’s terms, the “experience of being” of spoken language interpreters and professionals and how they experience the phenomenon of interpreter-mediated legal encounters with minors in Ireland. The primary source of data used in this thesis is semi-structured interviews with twelve spoken language interpreters, ten lawyers, one Garda (police officer) and one social worker who have experience of working with minors in interpreter-mediated legal encounters. The legal settings in question are international protection interviews and appeals, investigative interviews performed by Gardaí (police officers) and social workers, court proceedings and legal consultations in Ireland. The theoretical underpinning for the data analysis utilised in this study is Llewellyn-Jones and Lee’s (2013) concept of role-space. In addition, García-Beyaert’s (2015a) concept of communicative autonomy is employed to analyse not only the extent to which the interpreters’ practice allows professionals and minors to be responsible for their own communication, but also to elicit recommendations for interpreters and professionals to work together in a child-sensitive fashion. The main findings of this study are that most interpreters deployed to work in legal encounters in Ireland are untrained and that a significant number of them lack adequate proficiency in English and interpreting skills. Also, it was found that the lack of briefings and inadequate minor-interpreter interaction are patterns in interpreter-mediated legal encounters in Ireland. Other patterns identified include issues with interpreter ethics and professionalism.
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:March 2024
Supervisor(s):Phelan, Mary
Uncontrolled Keywords:communicative autonomy; interpreters; legal encounters; minors; phenomenology; professionals; role-space
Subjects:Humanities > Translating and interpreting
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License. View License
ID Code:29397
Deposited On:25 Mar 2024 14:05 by Mary Phelan . Last Modified 25 Mar 2024 14:05

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Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0


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