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The interpreter as intercultural mediator

By Viera Makarov√°


This thesis looks at the role of the Slovak-English interpreter working in the consecutive mode in the business environment especially with regard to rendering cultural references from source texts, whether these are (British) English or Slovak. Since culture in this thesis is taken in the broad sense of the whole way of life, cultural references can also be wide-ranging. The strategy an interpreter will opt for when interpreting cultural references depends on the circumstances under which he or she operates. Interpreting puts constraints on interpreters which make their activity distinct from translation of written texts, where in cases of unknown cultural references, translators can resort to the use of notes. Interpreters are engaged in mediating communication between (two) clients who do not share the same language and who come from differing cultural backgrounds. Due to differences between the (British) English and the Slovak cultures - in their material, spiritual and behavioural aspects - as well as due to lack of knowledge of cultural references which the clients of English-Slovak interpreting have and which was caused historically, some intercultural mediation is needed. Its particular forms are the outcome of the weighing of the circumstances under which the English-Slovak consecutive interpreter works. Moreover, business interpreting contains challenges in the form of the vocabulary of business, a relatively new area for Slovak interpreters. An interpreter, under all the above mentioned constraints, has to fulfil his or her role: to establish and maintain communication between the two parties. Therefore some of the strategies used will try to prevent miscommunication, while others will try to deal with miscommunication once it has occurred

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