Formación e iniciación profesional de intérpretes de lenguas nacionales mexicanas para la justicia: el caso de Puebla

Date: 31 May 2016

Venue: Universidad Veracruzana - Zona Universitaria - 91090 Xalapa - Veracruz

Organization / co-organization: Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegeerte & Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico

PhD candidate: Cristina Kleinert

Principal investigator: Prof. dr. Gunther Dietz & prof. dr. Christiane Stallaert

Short description: PhD defence Cristina Kleinert - Faculty of Arts


Cristina Kleinert es doctorante del Doctorado en Investigación Educativa por la UV (México) y del Doctorado en Traductología por la Universidad de Amberes (Bélgica).

Based on a case study conducted in the State of Puebla, this thesis examines the expansion of the interpreters in national languages as a professional discipline in Mexico. The research focuses on interpreting for the public sector, in particular court interpreters, and studies inductively, based on ethnographic fieldwork (carried out in 2011), the interpreters’ experience and interpretation skills acquired by for court interpreters trainees. Both the training program and the later first professional experiences in the emerging and changing public service scenario are studied.

In the current context, the Mexican law finds itself in a transition period from a written inquisitorial system to an adversarial, oral and public system, which urgently requires the training of interpreters in indigenous national languages.

As a theoretical and conceptual framework the decolonial approach (Quijano, 2000; Mignolo, 2003; Walsh, 2010; Santos, 2006), closely linked to intercultural education (Dietz, 2009; Walsh, 2010); the public services interpreter competency (Abril and Martin, 2008), as well as the 'agency' of the interpreter (Angelelli, 2004; Witter-Merithew, 1999) were used.

The qualitative methodology was designed and conducted during four years aiming at achieving a doubly reflexive ethnography (Dietz, 2011) with a component of self-ethnography (White, 2012). Data building techniques used included interviews, participant observation, COL logs (Campirán, 1999), as well as diagnostic and evaluative surveys carried out,which favored the voicing of interpreters. The data were collected both during the interpreters’ training period (2011) and thereafter during the professional performance of their duties (2012-2015).

The research findings revealed an urgent need to review the training processes, where important absences both in content and in interdisciplinary teaching didactics emerged. The need to provide opportunities for continuous lifelong learning is also imperative. In addition, the roles of the interpreters are also likely to be analyzed, discussed and reconsidered. The need to reinvigorate the interpreters’ agency from a decolonial critical perspective as well as inducing a paradigm shift in the organization of public services from a mono to multilingual organization is observed.

The thesis conclusions include recommendations for public policy makers and institutions of higher education to expand educational opportunities to this emerging area of great social relevance hitherto non-existent in the combination of Spanish and other Mexican national languages. Similarly, long-term research and monitoring in the field is necessary.

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