Conference presentation

Emotions and interpreting in conflict zones

Publication date2019

In recent years, a number of scholars have investigated interpreting in conflict situations; however, the impact of emotions on the interpreter's performance has not, to date, been the focus of sustained enquiry. This presentation will share the results of a qualitative study that explores the lived experiences of eleven civilian interpreters, four recruited in Spain (national) and seven recruited on-the-ground in Afghanistan (local), and six Spanish high-ranking officers who worked in Afghanistan in the context of counterinsurgency operations. It draws on sociopsychological theories of intractable conflict and Reay's (2015) psychosocial understanding of Bourdieu's habitus in order to examine the impact of emotions on the interpreter's positionality and behaviour. I will begin by discussing, defining and describing the context, the concept of intractable conflict and the nature of counterinsurgency operations. After introducing the theoretical framework mentioned above, I will move on to a brief discussion of the methodology used, that revolved around unstructured interviews, and will present the findings in the form of a narrative on the role of emotions when interpreting in a conflict zone. I will conclude by establishing that the affective shapes the interpreter's positionality, particularly in conflicts in which he or she, as an individual belonging to the local community, is both judge and jury. On the basis of these findings, I argue for further interdisciplinary investigation of the effects of interpreters' emotional states on their performance, particularly in extreme conditions and environments.

  • Interpreting
  • Counterinsurgency operations
  • Emotions
  • Interpreter's positionality.
Citation (ISO format)
RUIZ ROSENDO, Lucia. Emotions and interpreting in conflict zones. In: Symposium Translation and Knowledge Transfer: News trends in the theory and practice of translation and interpreting. Córdoba (Spain). 2019.
Main files (1)
  • PID : unige:129081

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