Who is responsible? Participant roles in legal interpreting cases

Ester S. M. Leung, John Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Goffman (1981) provides the framework for the analysis of the different & ‘participant’ roles played by speakers in conversation. They are: the role of the ‘animator’, the sounding box from which utterances comes; the ‘author’, the agent who puts together, composes, or scripts the lines that are uttered; and that of the ‘principal’, the party to whose position, stand, and belief the words attest. Legal interpreters often face various dilemmas with regard to the participant roles they play in the courtroom. Whether interpreters should allow their personal belief and ideology to influence their interpreting, taking on the role of ‘principal’, and whether they can and should interpret only what makes sense to them, and so playing the role of the ‘author’. This is the core issue that is examined in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-191
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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