A Short Description of the Public Audience Essay
Despite many Australians still doubting the need for interpreters, the fact that people from more than 200 nationalities live just in NSW makes it obvious interpreters’ crucial role in our multicultural society. But does it really deserve the professional status it claims and can its historical and academic credentials stack up?
Franz Pöchhacker’s statement that “A millennial practice which emerged as a profession only in the twentieth century, interpreting has recently come into its own as a subject of academic study” concisely summarises the historical development of interpreting as a practice and academic studies. Significant international events such as the two World Wars real and far-reaching prominence to interpreters brought prominence to the profession and this raised profile led to a greater demand for trained conference interpreters.
New training schools set up to test, teach, promulgate and develop their views and theories contributed to interpreting studies’ achieving an academic status. Danica Seleskovitch’s Interpretive Theory of Translation and ‘Cognitive Processing’ paradigm’ by Daniel Gile and Barbara Moser-Mercer are prominent. Dialogic Interaction Theory is noteworthy in that it is the most commonly used mode of interpreting in the community interpreting context whereas all the theories were more applicable either to simultaneous or consecutive mode.
With increasing migration, community interpreting that gives a voice to those who seek access to basic services but do not speak the dominant languages started gaining prominence. Australia’s involvement in the movement by inventing the Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) and setting up National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) is also noted.
Many institutions offer interpreting courses and one of the skills to teach is sight translation. As a hybrid of interpreting and written translation, its importance and usefulness is not disputed but studied by a few. Its common use in courts and hospitals in critical situations make it all the more worthwhile to study its efficacy and better teaching methodologies.