Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics VIAL

Luna Filipović and Alberto Hijazo-Gascón (1). Interpreting meaning in police interviews: Applied Language Typology in a Forensic Linguistics context. VIAL Number 15/2018: 67-104.


The main aim of this paper is to raise awareness about the importance of language contrasts in legal interpreting contexts. The semantic typology of motion events put forward by Talmy (1991, 2000) and its implications for discourse and narrative (Slobin 1991, 1996, 2004, 2005) are used as an example of how an applied typology approach can be useful for the analysis of language contrasts in a forensic linguistics context. Applied Language Typology (Filipović 2008, 2017a, b) is used here to analyse transcriptions of police interviews that were mediated by an English-Spanish interpreter in California (USA) and an English-Portuguese interpreter in Norfolk (UK). The results of this analysis demonstrate that certain differences in semantic components of motion such as Manner, Cause and Deixis can lead interpreters to add, omit or modify the content of a message in the process of translation. This leads us to conclude that professional practices such as the production of bilingual transcripts and use of control interpreters, together with the inclusion of Applied Language Typology in interpreting training, would improve the quality of interpreting practices in legal contexts.

Keywords: Forensic Linguistics, Applied Language Typology, Motion Events, Translation and Interpreting, Cognitive Linguistics

(1) University of East Anglia Norwich, U.K.

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