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The Roles of Military Interpreters and Their Working Environment in the Republic of China
Military interpretation working environment
“A culture-bound social practice affects interpreters’ codes of ethics, their understanding of their own role, recruitment and quality factors, and consequently their interpreting strategies.”(Rudvin, 2007) Therefore, an in-depth understanding of the working environment of interpreters helps identify their roles and working strategies. To explore the roles of military interpreters (MI) and their working environment in Republic of China, this paper focuses on the three issues of “MI’s working environment”, “MI’s roles and interpretation strategies”, and “Necessary ability and conception for MI”. Via a semi-structured interview method, this paper interviewed 10 seasoned MIs, trying to address the three research issues mentioned above. The research results suggest that lack of identity recognition, short of interpretation training and military working experience, MI manpower insufficiency, extra administrative chores, and serving as communication buffer are the dilemmas in MI’s working environment. However, despite the fact that the working environment is not favorable for MI, they still act as “message deliver”, “cultural mediator”, “communication facilitator”, and “stance tilter” by using interpretation strategies such as “addition”, “deduction”, “abstracted translation”, “clarification”, “involvement”, “personal conversion”, and “loyal translation” to facilitate communication for both sides. Moreover, to serve the abovementioned roles properly, MIs also have to keep improving themselves relentlessly to recognize the importance of register of the target language, as well as to strike a balance between their regular military jobs and assigned interpretation tasks.
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