A diagrammatic approach to redefining the role of the interpreter based on a case study in forensic psychology.


  • Krisztina Zimanyi Centre for Translation and Textual Studies, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland


community interpreting, role of the interpreter, mental health interpreting, legal interpreting, forensic psychology, diagrammatic representation


The present article revisits the role of the interpreter by examining a case study within a forensic psychology setting. During the session with a nine-year-old boy as the service user and a forensic psychologist as the service provider, the interpreter faces an ethical dilemma. The story the young boy presents is in conflict with information he has previously disclosed to the interpreter. The paper proposes the development of diagrammatic representations to help the interpreter position themselves within the communicative triad by presenting the interpreter’s role along two axes – the impartiality axis and the involvement axis. Given the complex nature of the forensic psychology setting, interpreter role definitions in community interpreting in general and in mental health and legal interpreting in particular provide a backdrop to the argument. Finally, the role of the interpreter is defined in terms of the nature of the session rather than the broader interpreting environment, whereby the interpreter needs to constantly reconsider their position to the primary participants.

Author Biography

  • Krisztina Zimanyi, Centre for Translation and Textual Studies, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
    research student School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, Dublin City University, Ireland