The Linguist

The Linguist 56,3 – June/July 2017

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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24 The Linguist Vol/56 No/3 2017 REVIEWS The matter of translating and interpreting in areas of public service has been a major issue for many years – nowhere more so than in a legal context, where the formal recognition of interpreters has been a slow-moving area. Questions of register, standards and terms of employment have not been fully resolved even in the UK, let alone in other parts of the EU. This collection of papers comes from a conference held in Croatia in 2015 under the auspices of EULITA. It is a useful collection from a comparative point of view, and positive in some respects. Slovenia, for example, has had a National Register of Court Interpreters since 1994, and from this year it will only contain those practitioners who show evidence of CPD activities. The Court Interpreter Section is active in the defence of its members, such as when the government proposed making court interpreters exclusively officers of the court, and when there was a proposal to prevent interpreters from seeing case-related papers in advance. Quite chilling is the chapter on the personal security of interpreters in certain countries, and not just in the context of a Towards the Professionalization of Legal Translators and Court Interpreters in the EU Martina Bajčić and Katja Dobrić Basaneže (eds) Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2016, 240pp; ISBN978-1-4438-9774-7 Hardback £61.99 courtroom. People have been left unattended with violent prisoners, interpreted for someone being covered by armed police, and there was even a case of a witness attempting to demonstrate on the interpreter how the accused had tried to strangle her. It is interesting to note that the question of nomenclature is a problem across most of Europe. The issues arising from using the phrase 'court interpreter' are outlined, and it is noted that FIT (the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs) prefers the term 'court interpreters and legal translators' (hence the title of the book), whereas EU project reports prefer to use 'legal interpreters and translators'. Other titles listed are 'sworn', 'legal', 'certified', 'licensed' or simply 'specialized'. That indicates the variety of approaches to what is a key function in public life. It is one which ought to be standardised across borders, given the need to implement Directive 2010/64/EU concerning the right to interpreting and translation in legal proceedings across Europe, which, hopefully, will continue to apply in the UK post-Brexit. Professor Tim Connell, CIOL Vice-President One day in 1969, the young Robert Ferguson gave up his boring job on a production line in Lancashire and hitchhiked to Copenhagen, just to do something different. His stay there was not happy, but he found he had a longing to find out more about the people of Scandinavia. He returned in 1983 and this book is mainly an account of how he gradually settled down and, indeed, assimilated – marrying a Norwegian, writing a biography of Nobel laureate Hamsun, and going 'in search of the soul of the North'. He does this mainly in the form of reported conversations with native Scandinavians set in a travelogue interspersed with journalistic reports of events. Ferguson covers Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and includes side trips to Iceland (as a trawler hand) and Svalbard (in a chapter on intrepid, but sometimes foolhardy, explorers). The form is uneven. There is a particularly stiff 'conversation' with the Swedish actor Max von Sydow on emigration from Scandinavia. Von Sydow recently starred in a film about emigration to the United States in the 19th century, but Ferguson skates over the issue of immigration into Scandinavia, which only a few decades ago had near homogenous populations. This is only briefly mentioned in a The Scandinavians: In search of the soul of the North Robert Ferguson Head of Zeus, 2016, 454pp; ISBN 9781781858943, Hardback £25 description of the rise of populist right-wing parties. Linguists will find his view of the Scandinavian languages of interest. However, his assimilation shows in his occasional lapses into Norwenglish. He includes reports which throw new light on certain stereotypes, notably contrasting the story of the Governor of Umeå prison, who sent his inmates home on Christmas leave and they all came back on time, with the murders in a recent bank robbery, the assassination of Swedish government ministers and Breivik's mass killings in Oslo. Art and history are well covered. I liked Ferguson's reminder that the Swedes can make really vacuous films as well as classics. The recent spate of 'Scandi-Noir' books and films, and the reasons for the explosion of this genre, are discussed. We also learn of the periods when Sweden and Denmark were great powers, and how the Vikings rampaged round Europe, the Mediterranean and into the heart of Russia. Those familiar with Scandinavia and its peoples will still find some interesting sidelights. If you know little, this is a good introduction. Uneven though it is, Ferguson does succeed in revealing something of the Soul of the North, but leaves one thinking much remains hidden. Mike Ellis FCIL

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