Interpreting Taboo: Developing and Evaluating Strategies in the Transfer of Taboo Language

Mouallem, Summer orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7290-9526 (2015) Interpreting Taboo: Developing and Evaluating Strategies in the Transfer of Taboo Language. In: ICRES 2015: International Conference on Research in Education and Science, 2015, Turkey.

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Taboo is anything which is said or done that is seen as offensive or embarrassing. Equally it is
an agreement amongst people to NOT say or do something as it may be seen as embarrassing or offensive! To
interpret taboo is hard within the same language community as the definition of taboo differs according to many
factors such as gender, age, social class, era and context, but it is even harder to interpret between two language
communities especially if the two belong to cultures that are vastly different. However, omitting taboo can lead
to severe consequences that may have legal implications or may even be fatal; hence it can no longer be ignored.
Some scholars have described taboo in its cultural and linguistic forms while others discuss to a small extent a
method to translate swear words by freeing them from their referential duties. However, not much literature has
been found so far on interpreting or the teaching of interpreting of taboo or on the consequences of avoiding
interpreting taboo. This paper will attempt to raise awareness of the consequences of not interpreting taboo in
public service interpreting (PSI). The author has undertaken a pilot study on 20 public service interpreting
students, as part of her PhD research, with the aim of showing and quantifying attitudes towards interpreting
taboo and to compare them with what is described in the literature review.

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