METM14 presentation

Speak out for Support (SOS-VICS) project: gender-violence interpreter training 

María Magdalena Fernández and Carmen Toledano Buendía, Tenerife, Spain

The arrival in Spain in recent decades of increasing numbers of foreign nationals poses a major challenge to public authorities, who now find themselves faced with the additional responsibility of providing professional interpreters for services never before required. The response to this situation from academic researchers is to stress the need for appropriate training for public service interpreters so that a level of professionalism that will guarantee proper linguistic mediation can be provided.

In certain contexts, professionalising interpreters through interpreter specialisation is not only important but vital. One such context is victim support, as set down in Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, which establishes minimum standards for the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. In the particular case of gender-violence victims who do not speak the host country language, interpreters become a key part of the support provision process in all the different settings involved (police, social services, healthcare, legal settings). In order to contextualise speakers’ utterances and convey the message correctly, the interpreter needs to deal with a great variety of written and oral texts, and to have an in-depth knowledge about gender violence (concept of gender, existing protocols, etc). Therefore, the need for specialised training becomes paramount.

This paper presents the objectives and methodology of the Speak out for Support (SOS-VICS) project, currently being carried out in Spain with funding from the EU Directorate-General Justice. SOS-VICS’ main aim is to identify interpreting needs in gender-violence contexts and elaborate a set of deliverables for public service providers, victims and interpreters about how interpreter-mediated encounters in this sort of settings should proceed. Collaboration with professionals involved in victim support through their participation in workshops, meetings, surveys and interviews has been crucial in designing training materials. We will outline a practical application of the methodology used and how it can help interpreters already working with gender-violence victims or those who may do so in the future to specialise and enhance their skills.

Carmen Toledano Buendía, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Department of English Studies at the University of La Laguna in Tenerife, Spain, where she has held various research and teaching positions. She teaches translation theory and consecutive and simultaneous interpreting at the masters in conference interpreting and directs the Diploma de Especialización en Traducción e Interpretación para los Servicios Comunitarios (DETISC), a postgraduate course on community interpreting, both of them at the University of La Laguna. Her primary research includes work on descriptive translation studies (more specifically, translation and reception processes of Spanish-translated English literature) and didactics of community interpreting. She is one of the main researchers in SOS-VICS, a European project whose objective is to improve the training of professional gender-violence interpreters.

María Magdalena Fernández Pérez is the Academic Coordinator of DETISC and a research assistant at SOS-VICS. She has taught liaison interpreting (applied to both healthcare and legal settings) at DETISC and consecutive and simultaneous interpreting at the masters in conference interpreting at the University of La Laguna since 2006. In addition, she works as a freelance interpreter in Spain. Her main research topics as a PhD student include the didactics of community interpreting and telephone interpreting.