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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 35

28 The Linguist Vol/56 No/3 2017 OPINION & COMMENT Can interpreters and translators resolve their terminological dilemmas following a 7-step method? MONICA ZHEKOV In my practice as a legal interpreter, there is a lack of suitable contextualised resources for my language pair (Romanian<>English). There are some good dictionaries but they do not adequately address the UK legal system, focusing instead on EU and US law. This led me to consider whether we, as interpreters and translators, have the skills to find our own practice-based results to our terminological difficulties. Might we even produce reliable and complex dictionaries, be they bilingual or monolingual, general or specialised? I began to work with other practitioners to create new resources to suit our specific work context and language pair. Initially this took the form of a research project with interpreting students at Middlesex University, which aimed to find out whether it was possible to create a collaborative English- Romanian glossary of obscure legal terminology using work-based knowledge gathered from court and police settings. Our model followed a simple seven-step process: 1 Observation of terminology in use in the working context (e.g. courts) 2 Inquiries with fellow practitioners working in the same language pair 3 Compilation of obscure terminology through an observation diary 4 Analysis and study of the terms using electronic corpora tools 5 Extraction of suitable terminological candidates through collaboration with other practitioners 6 Creation of glossary using user-friendly dictionary-building software 7 Dissemination of the new knowledge (terminology) to fellow practitioners. Participating interpreters kept an observation diary in which they noted down the date, type of legal procedure, problematic term, context in which the term was encountered, difficulty involved in transferring it into the target language, and the translation/explanation used. Student feedback was very positive. Thanks to the large amounts of data available in corpora such as Sketch Engine, they were able to use their observations in court to produce their own glossary, and then to enter their lemmas, definition and translations using TLex dictionary compilation software. This provided a setting for practitioners to grow and learn together. Although they were initially anxious and hesitant to collaborate, working together at the stages of collecting primary data (dialogues and interviews), triangulation and dissemination led to mutual trust and a joint sense of responsibility to contribute to the field. The students had to pass through all the stages of building their own glossary, from observation in magistrates' courts, to the compilation and analysis of data, to conducting complex searches in Sketch Engine using TLex. The biggest challenges that arose included finding convenient meeting locations and times for the focus groups, and low confidence among individual participants. Further research might explore how students can become better interpreters through this On the right terms Working together led to mutual trust and a joint sense of responsibility to contribute to the field

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Linguist - The Linguist 56,3 – June/July 2017