n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Kommunikasie tussen staat en burgers : die stand van tolkdienste

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



This paper investigates the dominant use of English by institutional service providers such as courts, state hospitals and pharmacies, state departments and local governments, South African provincial legislatures and tertiary institutions of learning. It is argued that in contrast to other countries, i.e. Belgium, Canada and Sweden where interpreting services are primarily used to accommodate immigrants, South Africa requires interpreters to communicate with its own citizens. <br>The absence of interpreting services makes for an alarming level of misunderstanding and disempowerment affecting the quality of services provided by institutional service providers and barring citizens from information and help. However, when trained interpreters (liaison and conference interpreters) are available, a lack of insight into their role as well as a perceived breach of confidentiality, often result in frustration for all parties concerned. <br>This paper will attempt to give a broad overview of the current state of interpreting in South Africa with specific reference to the use of interpreting services to facilitate communication between state and parastatal institutions and citizens. <br>In conclusion, the impact of a lack of language facilitation, and in a South African context, the hegemony of English, on the individual's perception of his/her identity is considered.

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