Community Interpreting During Disasters



In this blog post, I don’t feel like to introduce an exciting product or funny puns because 3 days ago a mine exploded in Turkey’s Soma province and “at least” 300 people died in that mine… It is quite sad because almost all the men in Soma province make a living by this mine and now, some of them are dead and the survivors don’t know where to work after that…

It reminds me one of my blog posts I wrote after Van earthquake in 2011. This blog post highlighted the importance of community interpreting during such disasters. The situation is different in Soma because everyone is speaking Turkish and there is no need for community interpreting. I just wanted to highlight its importance once again:


Here is an explanatory article about community interpreting by Margareta Bowen. I have quoted the parts I find interesting. For the rest of it, you can click the link at the bottom:

” ‘The community interpreter has a very different role and responsibilities from a commercial or conference interpreter. She is responsible for enabling professional and client, with very different backgrounds and perceptions and in an unequal relationship of power and knowledge, to communicate to their mutual satisfaction.’ (Shackman, Jane. The Right to be Understood: A Handbook on Working With, Employing and Training Community Interpreters. 1984, Cambridge, England, National Extension College.)

The settings are hospitals and doctors’ offices, schools, the various offices dealing with immigrant matters, housing and social security, and police stations. Compared to conference interpreting, the range of languages needed is enormous, even when compared to what is in store for the European Union. Moreover, the language level may be quite different from that of a diplomatic conference: regional variations and dialects can be a problem.

Some languages dominate: Spanish in the US, Turkish in Germany and Austria, Italian and Greek in Australia. But the Health Care Interpreting Services office of the Heartland Alliance in Chicago at present has demand for 28 languages.

Interest in this kind of interpreting, however, has grown by leaps and bounds. Last year the International Conference on University Institutes for Translation and Interpretation (CIUTI) decided that institutes do not have to teach conference interpreting exclusively in order to become a member. They may offer any of a range of interpreter specializations, including community interpreting. Read more…

For other types of interpreting, click here.

 our Facebook page to read and enjoy more posts about languages!

You can also follow me on Twitter.

What about learning more about AIM Consulting?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: