Interpreter-Assisted Investigative Interviews: Needs, Challenges and Quality

PhD Thesis

Amurun, O. 2021. Interpreter-Assisted Investigative Interviews: Needs, Challenges and Quality. PhD Thesis
AuthorsAmurun, O.
TypePhD Thesis

This thesis researches the yet to be fully explored dynamic of interpretation services needs and interpretation service optimisation (i.e., interview and interpretation quality assurance). The research began with an exploratory analysis of factors affecting interpreter-assisted investigative interviews and then took a subtle experimental swipe at factors affecting intelligibility and informativeness of translation. Recognition of the importance of the context in which interpretation currently takes place led to the addition of a wider range of approaches. This informed a broad review of relevant literature. The empirical work is presented as follows. First, is a Study Space Analysis (SSA) of policy-relevant research, which provides a base for determining the adequacy and depth of the existing body of knowledge. The results show that interpretation service needs and planning appear mildly or infrequently researched, and there exists little or no studies investigating police diversity effects on interpretation service needs. Also, studies investigating cognitive load, language and gender effects on interpreting accuracy are sparse. Finally, this study shows that the literature focuses on interpretation as a service for offenders rather than for victims and witnesses. The implications of this for social harmony are discussed. The second study concerns the optics of a police service that does not resemble the population policed. In a convenience sample of 104 ethnic minority individuals, the descriptive and thematic analysis indicates that police diversity tends to improve trust and impact the need for interpretation service. These findings bring to the fore the benign potency of language education. The third study explores the opinions of 66 International Law Enforcement Agency (ILEA) investigators and 40 interpreters on factors affecting investigative interviews involving the assistance of interpreters. Using descriptive and thematic analysis, it was shown that investigators plan only occasionally with interpreters. The seldom planning practise is found to occur because of investigator’s role perception of interpreters and individualistic culture of investigators. Additionally, interpreter presence is observed to impact rapport building, and the effect of interruption is manageable with the right skills and experience combination. The fourth study uses a complex design to determine factors relevant to the intelligibility and informativeness of translations of witness accounts of a sample of audio depictions of non-violent offences. The study employed 240 aggregated ratings from 4 volunteer assessors of 60 textual interpretation of 15mins, 10mins and 5mins witness accounts using Tiselius (2009) 6-points Intelligibility and informativeness scale. Log-linear analysis revealed a surprising lack of consensus of assessments of intelligibility and informativeness across assessors, but judgements of informativeness relative to intelligibility within individual assessors appear coherent and consistent. Length of audio was not associated with intelligibility or informativeness. A small exploratory follow up to the study investigated what seemed to make translations unintelligible. The next study mapped the opinions of a sample of 51 expert interpreters with a range of experience about the perception of their work and its challenges. This shows consistency with existing literature and studies investigated in the thesis except for opinions on the role of police diversity which is found to increase trust and interpretation service needs.

Keywordsinterpretation service; translation ; police diversity
PublisherUniversity of derby
File Access Level
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited13 Apr 2022
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