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Melanie Metzger

When the notions of participation framework were introduced by Goffman in the year 1981, the complexities that exist within the role of listener were not explored about him. Wadensjo develops the notion of reception formats corresponding to that of production formats, Distinguishing between production roles is а way of making explicit in what sense speakers display their own or others’ opinions or attitudes.

Demonstration of own opinions and attitudes regarding their rights and responsibilities in interaction by the individuals has been clarified by the gain in distinguishing different modes of listening. Interaction with the others results in the realization of two roles of an interpreter, which are, a social role, and a role that performs an activity. The ability of interpreters to listen and speak at the same time, as well as, shifting from relaying to coordinating the interaction has been explained by her with analytical precision and detail.

Thus, the level and degree of their participation are changed by them. Significance has been observed in the work of Wadensjo, because the current vision and ideology has been profoundly changed by it. In fact, the basic and fundamental event of interpreting is the ‘pas de troix’, which is an expression of the Wadensjo. In this regard, the teaching of process of interpreting and certification practices for interpreters is changed by it.

In 1995, Melanie Metzger concluded her sociolinguistic study of а professional interpreter in а pediatric examination and of student interpreters role-playing а medical interview between а doctor and а deaf person, Using а sociolinguistic approach, including Goffman’s participant framework, her analysis revealed that eight percent of the professional interpreter’s total talk, or 29 utterances, was not that of relaying the talk of either of the primary participants of the 29 utterances, most were directed to the deaf patient, and only one to the doctor, one to the nurse, and two to the researcher and videographer, who was Metzger herself.

Much of the professional interpreter’s talk arose from the assumptions and expectations of the participants which came to light during the interaction. “That is, some information is available within the interaction and originates among the interlocutors, but for some reason the interpreter must generate an utterance in order to fulfill the goal of relaying that information”. These “relays” came about from discourse confusion such that the interpreter had to identify the original speaker of the utterances, repeat talk because of the overlapping talk, or ask for clarification because of distractions or lack of background knowledge.

Like Berk-Seligson and Wadensjo, Metzger’s analysis revealed the interpreter generating utterances to manages conversational flow. Many of these utterances were attention-getting strategies, for example, to get the attention of the deaf participant who begins to talk when the doctor is not finished talking. “Both the existence and variety of these utterances and of the footings they represent indicate that the interpreter does influence interpreted interactive discourse” (1995: 2o5). She notes that although interpreters function as participants, they are also “far more constrained in their participation than other participants”.

All in all, а large portion of interpreter utterances are retellings or reports of what other participants have said. Using а structural form, adjacency pairs, identified by conversation analysts, Metzger proposes that an interpreted event is the interaction between overlapping dyadic talk, That is, one speaker talks to the interpreter and although the interpreter then transfers the message to the next primary speaker, both speakers are talking to, responding to, and taking turns with the interpreter.

In the example, Metzger uses greetings, one form of adjacency pair, to describe the unique form of embedding within interpreted conversations. In this example, G refers to the greeting, such that G1 is the first part of an adjacency pair, and G2 is the second part of the greeting pair: In this exchange, participant І offers а greeting; the interpreter translates the greeting to the other participant who responds by saying hello and the interpreter then passes on the greeting back to the first participant. Language pair part B is embedded within the language an exchange.

The interpreter exchanges greetings with participants in their own languages; thus, the interaction, Metzger argues, is organized at one level as а dyad between the two participants who speak the same language. From the professional interpreter’s actions and utterances, Metzger’s analysis revealed the ways in which the interpreter was avoiding or minimizing her influence in the interpreted interaction, some strategies, such as providing minimal responses to direct questions, allow for primary participant expectations of discourse with а third participant, while keeping that participation minimal to return to the focus of the meeting.

Once again, Metzger, like Berk-Seligson, Wadensjo and others, has demonstrated that interpreters are participants in а discourse process, influencing the course and direction of an interaction. Like Wadensjo, Metzger has shown that interpreters shift their stance from strictly relaying to а more overt participatory status to assist in communication and back to relaying, and that they influence interaction via their own participation.

The paradox of neutrality is, as Metzger puts it, the question whether interpreters should pursue more coordinating activity or attempt to minimize wherever and whenever possible. These studies and the one herein point the way toward an extraordinary change in perspective in translation and interpreting. Accepting this new direction will mean changes in practice, teaching and testing. Most of all, as Hatim and Mason noted, it restores to the translator and interpreter а central role in the process of cross-cultural communication which takes note of their expertise and celebrates it.

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