Community Interpreting in Turkey

Community Interpreting in Turkey In recent decades, considerable steps have been taken in various countries to develop the supply and quality of interpreting and other services that enable citizens, visitors and refugees with limited proficiency in the local official language(s) to access public services such as health care, education, legal recourse, the police, and social benefits. These improvements in the provision of ‘community’ or ‘public service’ interpreting have coincided with an increase in the training and research conducted in this field. Courses, postgraduate programs and systems of accreditation in community interpreting or its subfields have been launched across the world, and ever more research into interpreting in settings such as courtrooms, hospitals and police stations is being carried out and published. In Turkey, the situation is rather different. Although certain Turkish laws, bylaws and regulations do prescribe and detail the use of (spoken and signed) interpreting in legal and other settings, in reality, recourse to ad hoc solutions and untrained interpreters is very common. Only a handful of NGOs have attempted to set the provision of community interpreting on a stronger institutional footing. However, recent years have seen increased acceptance of the multilingual and multicultural realities of Turkey and a number of studies have investigated particular aspects of community interpreting in Turkey. Given this conjuncture, the symposium aims to take stock of the state of community interpreting in Turkey, in terms of needs, legal and political framework, provision and training, and the actual experiences of community interpreters and those who rely on them.

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