Research Project

Interpreter-mediation in Investigative Interviewing

Research contacts: Professor Ursula Boser ( & Christine Wilson ( Heriot-Watt University University


Heriot-Watt University is playing a lead role in this comparative study of practices in six countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and Turkey) in this project which is funded by the DG Criminal Justice.

A growing demand for interpreting in new contexts and formats has been the corollary of a progressively more multicultural world. Interpreter-mediated face-to-face interactions play an increasing role in navigating the challenges of diversity and in the shaping of aspects of multicultural societies. The main institutional setting on which research in the emerging field of 'community-based' interpreting has focused so far is interpreting in the courtroom (court interpreting); however, little attention has been paid to the impact of interpreting on other types of verbal interactions in earlier phases of the emerging forensic narrative.

This project will investigative the specific conditions within which police interpreting is taking place and the effects of interpreting on conversational dynamics in investigative interviewing. More specifically, the project aims are to create a better understanding of the context of police interviewing and forensic interviewing formats to enhance training of interpreters. It also seeks to propose how the findings can be taken into account in cross-cultural and multi-lingual interviewing practice.

Project members will carry out a comparative study of practices in the six countries represented. This will be based on shared research and roundtable information sessions with practitioners in interpreting and policing in the six participating countries. Findings will be presented at an international conference of trainers, researchers and practitioners in Paris, in late 2012, and published subsequently. In addition, each member state will prepare a short film to illustrate national interviewing practices in a multilingual context. This will be for use in a training environment and relevant to both interviewers and interpreters working in an investigative context.

It is hoped that the project will contribute to the implementation of Directive 2010/64/EU of the European Parliament and Council of 20 October 2010 on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings.


Police Interpreting Research Group in the Centre for Translation & Interpreting Studies in Scotland (CTISS) (SIPR Annual Report, 2011)


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