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Locating Translation and Interpreting in a Speech Community: Locating the Speech Community in Translation and Interpreting Studies

This chapter has as its starting point a linguistic group-speakers of a transposed, immigrant language in Australia-defined here as a speech community. This is a term widely used in sociolinguistics, but despite the social turn that occurred over 20
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   󰁊󰁩󰁭 󰁈󰁬󰁡󰁶󰁡󰁣 󰀶 Locating ranslation and Interpreting in a Speech Community: Locating the Speech Community in ranslation and Interpreting Studies 󰁡󰁢󰁳󰁴󰁲󰁡󰁣󰁴 Tis chapter has as its starting point a linguistic group – speakers of a transposed, immigrant language in Australia – defined here as a speech community. Tis is a term  widely used in sociolinguistics, but despite the social turn that occurred over 󰀲󰀰 years ago, it is seldom used in ranslation and Interpreting Studies. Tis chapter draws on a number of data samples from the Macedonian- Australian speech community in Melbourne to elicit the incidence of translation and interpreting in this speech com-munity and to gain descriptions from protagonists of linguistic mediation. Te data samples include: a survey completed by 󰀶󰀰 first- generation and 󰀳󰀸 second- generation speakers; interviews with a user, broker, dual- role mediator, bilingual employee and  professional interpreter; a survey completed by 󰀱󰀰 professional interpreters. Based on both quantitative data and an ethnographic approach, this chapter contextualises a speech community within ranslation and Interpreting Studies, and proposes an expanded definition of the term to include translation and interpreting practices. 󰀱. Definitions of Speech Community  Tis chapter focuses on translation, interpreting, and a speech commu- nity. Te term  speech community  comes from sociolinguistics and became a term used by prominent linguists, such as Chomsky (󰀱󰀹󰀶󰀵), Gumperz (󰀱󰀹󰀶󰀸/󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀲), and Labov (󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀲), to reflect their approach to describing the relationship between individuals, groups and speech varieties. Chomsky’s (󰀱󰀹󰀶󰀵: 󰀳) definition foregrounded his notion of the ‘ideal speaker- listener Eugenia Dal Fovo and Paola Gentile - 9781787077508Downloaded from PubFactory at 07/19/2019 04:10:18AMvia Monash University (CEIRC)  󰀱󰀵󰀴  󰁊󰁩󰁭 󰁈󰁬󰁡󰁶󰁡󰁣 in a completely homogenous speech- community who knows its language  perfectly’. Tis definition conformed to his conceptualisation of human linguistic competence as homogenous, invariant and uniform. Gumperz’s (󰀱󰀹󰀶󰀸/󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀲: 󰀲󰀲󰀶) concept of speech community is different and foregrounds social, rather than linguistic features, based on his work in dialectology and ethnography of communication: ‘Speech varieties within a speech community form a system because they are related to a shared set of social norms’. He also observes that, within some groups, multiple linguistic systems may be used, that is, that there is a linguistic range within a group that can, in some instances, encompass two or more varieties which may be habitually mixed via code- switching or bilingualism. Labov’s (󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀲: 󰀱󰀲󰀰) definition of a speech community as ‘not defined by any marked agreement in the use of language elements, so much as by participation in a set of shared norms’ appears to be similar to Gumperz’s (󰀱󰀹󰀶󰀸/󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀲). However, in practice, Labov pre- supposed a structural integrity or linguistic homo-geneity of each social group (according to macro- features such as ethnic-ity, gender, age, ideology, etc.) that did not include variation within each group (Patrick 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀸).Further directions in sociolinguistics towards the end of the twenti-eth century led some variationist sociolinguists (Hudson 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀶; Rampton 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀸) to call into question the usefulness of the term speech community, as some ascribed members of a speech community appeared not to have access to, let alone proficiency in what was assumed to be their group code. Instead, authors like Coupland et al. (󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀱) have advocated looking at verbal and signed interactions from a bottom- up approach that focuses on the local or micro- level of communicative interactions. Parallel to this has been the emergence of practice theory (Bourdieu 󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀷) and especially the notion of community of practice (Wenger 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀸) that are closer to Gumperz’s definition, but also complementary to it. For example, practice theory sociolinguists such as Eckert (󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀰) go beyond sociologically based categories such as class, gender or locality, and look at which variables are the ones that matter to a group of individuals. She also looks at how social identity is presented and practised amongst groups of individuals and  which linguistic forms index which forms of social identity. At the same time, Eckert’s approach does not lose sight of the notional and linguistic Eugenia Dal Fovo and Paola Gentile - 9781787077508Downloaded from PubFactory at 07/19/2019 04:10:18AMvia Monash University (CEIRC)   Locating ranslation and Interpreting in a Speech Community 󰀱󰀵󰀵 characteristics of a group’s variety. Her approach is, in many ways, still in line with Gumperz’s (󰀱󰀹󰀸󰀲: 󰀲󰀴) later writings: Members of such a community typically vary with respect to certain beliefs and other aspects of behavior. Such variation, which seems irregular when observed at the level of the individual, nonetheless shows systematic regularities at the statisti-cal level of social facts.  Within sociolinguistics, the notion of speech community is still a widely used metric, albeit one that need not refer to a discrete group of people and a discrete set of forms, that is, ‘some kind of social group whose speech characteristics are of interest and can be described in a coherent manner’ (Wardhaugh 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀸: 󰀱󰀱󰀶). An important strand of sociolinguis-tic research that has contributed to the development of the notion of speech community – and to the debate around it – is social network analysis and the work of Milroy and Milroy (󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀲). Te authors quantify individual speakers’ type and depth of contact with others (i.e. simplex  vs multiplex ties with other interlocutors) and observe how linguistic forms spread across groups, according to the density of contact. Speech communities of an immigrant language – which represent the focus of this chapter – have been studied through a social network approach to describe language use in migrant settings. Tese studies include Waas (󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀶), Hulsen et al. (󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀲), Stoessel (󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀲), Gibbons and Ramirez (󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀴), Lanza and Svendsen (󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀷). In these studies, translation and interpreting (&I) is a seldom- mentioned phenomenon, except where it is employed as a methodological tool to gauge speakers’ linguistic level (Gibbons and Ramirez 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀴). However, this need not mean that linguistic mediation from or for others is absent from communicative interactions involving speakers of minority languages. Linguistic media-tion may be an ambient and unremarkable occurrence in many speakers’ lives, as noted by Harris and Sherwood (󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀸) who refer to this as ‘natural translation’. It is Harris and Sherwood’s notion of natural translation, together with the provision of professional &I services that is a feature of many service- based interactions involving speakers of transposed, immigrant languages in Australia. Tese aspects form the basis for this chapter’s research questions: Eugenia Dal Fovo and Paola Gentile - 9781787077508Downloaded from PubFactory at 07/19/2019 04:10:18AMvia Monash University (CEIRC)  󰀱󰀵󰀶  󰁊󰁩󰁭 󰁈󰁬󰁡󰁶󰁡󰁣 󰀱. What is the incidence of speech community members requiring transla-tion and/or interpreting and what is the incidence of members providing translation and/or interpreting to other speech community members? 󰀲. How do the protagonists of translation and interpreting within a speech community describe how they use or provide these services?Te first question relates to the frequency with which speech community members report needing or providing &I. In a broader sense, this ques- tion has led demographers, researchers on migration, social policy analysts, linguists and those in the &I sector (policy makers, agencies, practition-ers) to ask themselves: what is the demand for &I among a (given) com-munity? How is this demand covered and by whom? Te second question relates, on the one hand, to the users’ perspective and how communication with allophone speakers (i.e. those with whom one does not have a common language) is negotiated. On the other hand, it relates to the providers’ perspective and how, why and/or in what cir- cumstances their services are called on. Furthermore, both questions also touch on an over- arching issue regard-ing public service/community interpreting: how does one quantify the need for interpreting services, and how closely do professional interpreting ser-  vices meet this need? In the state of Victoria, where the speech community under scrutiny is located, the need, right and even obligation to provide an interpreter, at least in healthcare settings, is envisaged by policy regulations: ‘You have a right to an  accredited interpreter if you need one when using a  publicly- funded healthcare service, such as a hospital or community health centre’ (Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀶: 󰀹, 󰀱󰀲). Te themes of need and right, as well as capacity, ability and agency amongst members of the speech community recur in this chapter.  󰀱.󰀱. Locating ranslation and Interpreting in a Speech Community Sociological theories from the 󰀱󰀹󰀶󰀰s and 󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀰s regarded identity as an internalised, stable property of both individuals and social groupings. Individuals are influenced by social structures through socialisation which Eugenia Dal Fovo and Paola Gentile - 9781787077508Downloaded from PubFactory at 07/19/2019 04:10:18AMvia Monash University (CEIRC)   Locating ranslation and Interpreting in a Speech Community 󰀱󰀵󰀷 leads to the internalisation of social influences. Language can be ‘wrapped up’ within a group, be one of its guiding criteria, and in the ‘hard version’ of ‘admission criteria’, it can also be a pre- condition for joining a specific group. Tis kind of reasoning is based on the notion that groups pre- exist individuals, and that individuals ‘partake of’ groups in a way that may appear static and undynamic, and membership within a group rests on on- going, sometimes ‘timeless’ practices. Tis is a textbook notion of groups and represents an essentialist view or explanation of how units of social organisation function and keep func- tioning. By extension, where a group is characterised by a particular lin-guistic behaviour (see Labov’s definition above), that behaviour, usually conceived of as a language or dialect, is thought to be ‘that group’s language’. Te notion that ‘there is always only one  (and always the same one) correct  variety’ that characterises a group, was refuted by Fishman, as early as 󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀲 (Fishman 󰀱󰀹󰀷󰀲: 󰀳󰀲󰀱). Initially, sociolinguistics was strongly influenced by sociology, and sociolinguists used to analyse speech varieties considering linguistic features as indexical of macro- level categories such as class, gender and age (Milroy and Milroy 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀲; rudgill 󰀱󰀹󰀹󰀲). Further characteristics such as ethnicity, locality and level of education have become the basis for sociolinguistic studies that look at ethnolects, regiolects and formal vs informal language registers. As regards translators and interpreters, sociolinguistic features of a given source language may inform them on how to render norm deviations, such as sociolinguistically marked varieties – for example, ethnically marked  varieties – for example, Spanglish; or occupationally marked varieties – for example, ‘footballer talk’. Te sociolinguistic approach also includes locality- related aspects: rural vs urban speech styles may index social features (education level and/or class) just as much as geographical ones (e.g. the language of urban New Yorkers vs those in upstate New York). When it comes to translation, these features have to be rendered in the appropriate target language variety that can convey the relevant socio- regional data (cf. Ranzato’s (󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀰) study of Cockney English translated into Italian). Migration, mobility and globalisation have given rise to ethno-, class- and gender- based varieties, such as the urkish- German sociolect  Kiezdeutsch   (also known as  Kanakisch ) in Berlin (Wiese 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲). ranslating these forms Eugenia Dal Fovo and Paola Gentile - 9781787077508Downloaded from PubFactory at 07/19/2019 04:10:18AMvia Monash University (CEIRC)


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