This labeling variety is cumbersome, unwieldy, and remarkable only for the settings that are left out. Attempts to clarify this run into problems as labelers peer through their own lenses to identify aspects of the interpreting event, Using any of the above criteria makes it difficult to select elements that are the same, or those that are different, or to construct а taxonomy, or categorization, of interpreted discourse events. For example, what kind of interpreting is а lecture about ethics to medical students at а university called? Is it an educational setting?
A medical setting? а conference or platform setting? а philosophical setting? Clearly these choices are confusing, overlapping, and not helpful. І would suggest, instead, that divisions be made along an interactional dimension. An interpreted event in which conversation is occurring, in which participants take turns, change topics and in which information is only part of the goal, is а notably different interaction from an event in which there is а single speaker, in which turn-taking is minimal or nonexistent and in which the focus is on the message content, or information.
Conversational interaction typically occurs in а group composed of а small number of people, in which interaction is characterized by taking turns, utterance pairs, such as questions and answers, responses, changing topics and other discourse features. Within these conversational events, participant’s come together to accomplish specific goals while they present and negotiate meanings and relationships through the exchange of talk.
Because these exchanges are layered with linguistic, social, and cultural meanings, interpreters are required to be more active in the discourse process them in order to manage communication (Roy 1989a; Wadensjo 1992; Metzger 1995). Interaction is restrained in situations in which one speaker delivers а content-oriented talk to an audience that is expected, in general, not to respond. In these discourse events, the face-to-face interaction between participants is reduced and the attention is focused on the content of the speaker’s talk.
These distinctions are important for interpreters; Interpreters instinctively mold their behavior and the nature of their participation around these dimensions of interaction between and among participants. Defining Interpreted Events Single Speaker Interpreted Events In discourse events where а single participant talks, the speaker chooses the topic(s), decides when to begin, when to end (although there may be а specified time limit), does most of the speaking, and decides whose and what questions, if any, will be answered.
The audience is typically limited in its responses. Generally, audiences are not expected to engage actively in talk with the speaker other than to provide occasional verbal or nonverbal feedback; the audience is not expected to take an active conversational role as in ordinary conversations. of course, the audience may enter into а more active role if the speaker allows discussion or questions or indicates that а response is expected from the audience. However, even this conversational activity is generally restricted in length, content, and function.
The primary focus for speaker and audience is the delivery of the speaker’s message. Lectures, for example, are conducted according to goals that are both informational and social. Although lectures do not require interaction in the form of talk, good lecturers are aware of the audience’s need both to follow the flow of the talk and to enjoy the experience of listening (Goffman 1981). Therefore, speakers add features of discourse that, first, guide listeners in interpreting the information that they are hearing and, second, create interest in the content and involve the audience in sense-making.
But, in general, they do not interact at the level of being reciprocal conversational partners with the audience. Interpreters in this interaction must also focus on transmitting the content of the talk. Because of this, their role is generally viewed as passive in the same sense as the role of the audience is seen as passive. In fact, their role is more active than has been described in most accounts. Interpreters and those who study their work tend to focus on the transfer of the message contained in the words and sentences.
This focus tends to exclude discussions about levels of meaning used to create audience involvement and levels of meaning derived from discourse structure and style. But these levels are important when producing target language equivalents because they contain cues that tell listeners what kind of message they are hearing, how to identify salient points in а message, and how speakers are projecting their involvement with the audience (Goffman 1981; Tannen 1989; Roy 1989b).
Defining interpreted events is different from using an interactionistic analytical framework to answer certain questions about interpreting. 1 Interpreting can be studied via а discourse framework regardless of the situation in which it occurs and the number of speakers that take part in it. For the purpose of definition, however, І am contrasting single speaker interaction with conversational interaction to suggest that such а definition offers students and practitioner’s а different vocabulary for talking about the dimensions of interpreting.