Legal interpreters for ethnic minorities in Hong Kong: identities and cultural mediation

  • Sangi Gurung

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This study explores identity construction of ethnic minority (EM) language interpreters working for the Judiciary and law enforcement bodies in Hong Kong. It also examines how an act of incorporating cultural differences into interpreting emerges as an immanent aspect of EM identity. Interpreters' background and their close affiliation with a respective language and culture enables them to identify cultural differences in interpreting, thus such detection and potential mitigation through drawing attention and clarification, reinforces their EM identity in interpreting practice. Cultural mediation however, is determined by a number of elements intertwined within the field of practice: hierarchical positioning of interlocutors, existing system and interpreters' codes of practice, service providers' and interpreters' perception and attitudes, as well as interpreting competence and education. Therefore, identity construction of EM interpreters and their approaches towards cultural differences both remain a product of an on-going interaction between the mainstream legal system and existing mechanism in interpreting services on the one hand, and interpreters' insight on the other. Along the process of interpreting, interpreters' identities are constructed and reconstructed through negotiations between how they are perceived by others in terms of policies and daily practice, and how they see themselves as interpreters. While the study focuses on identities and cultural mitigation in interpreting, it provides the basis for identifying issues in interpreting in EM languages and further professionalising the interpreting services.

Date of Award22 Mar 2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorEster S M LEUNG (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Hong Kong.
  • Law
  • Minorities
  • Translating.
  • Translators

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