Book chapter

Interpreting as a Form of Humanitarian Aid Provision at an Italian NGO. Challenges and Outlooks

ContributorsRadicioni, Mauraorcid
Published inThe Routledge Handbook of Translation, Interpreting and Crisis, Editors Routledge, p. 233-248
PublisherLondon : Routledge
First online date2024

This contribution originates from ongoing research, which uses ethnographic methods to investigate the cultural mediators of an Italian NGO that provides free healthcare and socio-cultural guidance in a complex migration setting in southern Italy. Specifically, it analyses their interpretation and cultural mediation practices to verify their contribution to the NGO’s mission as all-round humanitarian workers. Building on previous research on intercultural mediation and crisis translation, this chapter draws on semi-structured video interviews and ethnographic field observations and casts light on the cultural mediator’s pivotal role, activities, and training background. To them, translation and interpretation are always instrumental to fulfilling the organisation’s humanitarian mandate, as shown by their quick response in the context of the COVID-19 health emergency to enable communication and guarantee migrants’ right to health. Stemming from a case study, this contribution does not claim for representativeness of the entire Italian situation, nor for the scalability of its findings; it does aim to go beyond mere suggestion. The chapter posits that interpreting and cultural mediation in humanitarian and crisis contexts should be framed within the more general goals of NGOs and humanitarian organisations as forms of aid provision, with ensuing implications in terms of training, ethics, and overall interpreting and cultural mediation capacity.

Citation (ISO format)
RADICIONI, Maura. Interpreting as a Form of Humanitarian Aid Provision at an Italian NGO. Challenges and Outlooks. In: The Routledge Handbook of Translation, Interpreting and Crisis. London : Routledge, 2024. p. 233–248. doi: 10.4324/9781003207580-20
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Book chapter (Submitted version)

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