Théophile Munyangeyo, Working at cross-purposes in interpreting through doublespeak, International Journal of Language, Translation and Intercultural Communication, 2|2014,

The concept of fidelity has been at the forefront of the conduit model narratives in interpreting. However, since interpreting operates in various modes, modalities and settings, seeking neutrality as the interpreter’s performance indicator seems unrealistic. Interpreting as a multimodal activity and process highlights the meaningfulness of the concept of appropriateness in communication models. From the relevance of semantic components of linguistic utterances to the importance of pragmatic mediation in interpreting, the interpreter’s multidimensional approach can lead to working at cross-purposes while managing sensitivity. Using secondary research and primary research data obtained through self-reported experiences, this article explores and reflects on when, how and why doublespeak works in cross-purposes interpreting. It concludes that in the context of interpreter-mediated encounters where the interpreter is an involved participant or is expected to play an active role in seeking and fostering communicative appropriateness, using and interpreting doublespeak requires putting linguistic dimensions and the interpreter’s mediation role on an equal footing. 

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