Contextual interpreting is putting context to the culture on either side. It is most useful where cultural practices or traditions need to be put into context for the other culture. For example: understanding the significance of religious festivals in context to the local festivals. The routine individual practices that go along with that festival or event, which may assist a school to acknowledge a festival due to its student demographic numbers.
Contextual interpreting is a valuable tool in assessing client needs in situations such as marriage, divorce, settlement, family arrangements. Other emerging areas of need are in aged and disability care, where the services available may not be in context to the client’s needs.
Contextual Interpreters are fluent in the language that they are interpreting, but also:
- Have the knowledge of both cultures to effectively translate the context.
- Have an understanding of the variations of cultural context within the demographic.
- Able to identify system gaps that may be tailored or modified without re-invention to better address cultural context.
- Identify services that could facilitate between the professional and client.
- Be mindful of racial implications of the interpreting.
This service is most useful to organisations dealing with large numbers of a particular demographic, even if clients speak English. It is intended to facilitate setting common processes in place and setting policy. Contextual interpretation is best booked by project or activity, but can be used in dispute situations on an hourly basis.
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