In our globalized world, cultural, economic, and social processes transcend borders. As a consequence, cross-cultural journalism has taken on new importance. One of the greatest challenges you may face as an international journalist is accessing information in a foreign language. In this free resource, we provide key insight into how to produce impactful and precise reporting across linguistic barriers.
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Globalization has made cross-cultural journalism an essential public service. And, with the mainstreaming of the internet, the wide availability of publishing technology, and the widespread adoption of smartphones, journalists have never been so resourceful. But there are still some obstacles that journalists face when conducting cross-cultural reporting. These obstacles won’t be fully eradicated by technology, but there are numerous effective ways to overcome them.
In the case of cross-cultural interviewing, counting on an interpreter can make a world of difference. A professional interpreter won’t only help you communicate with sources. They’ll also serve as a cross-cultural ally, helping you understand what you experience in the foreign land you’re in. An in-person interpreter may be the best companion, advisor, and communication aid during your reporting. But such help may be out of your budget. Or interpreters in your language pair may be unavailable on-site. In that case, a remote interpreting solution will do the trick.
Both in-person and remote interpreting have their pros and cons. And it’s also worth mentioning that working with an interpreter is something to get used to. If you’re wondering whether an interpreter may affect your interview, your concern is more than reasonable.
In some cases, the interpreter may be biased. Even in their professional lives, people are never fully removed from their cultural or social background. And even if the interpreter is not breaking ethical guidelines, in some cases, their presence may send the wrong signal to the interviewee. As we share in this e-book, this happened to an international journalist who was reporting about women’s issues in Syria. The interpreter she worked with was male, and his very presence had a cultural significance that prevented women from fully opening up and talking about their experiences. So, choosing an interpreter is not just about budget or convenience. Knowing the culture you’ll be in, evaluate whether having another person in the room may affect your interview’s outcome.
When looking for an interpreter, experience in the subject at hand is also very important. Having the help of a specialist will make sure there are no misunderstandings. Another factor you shouldn’t overlook is the interpreter’s communication style. Knowing the story’s context and purpose will help your interpreter do their best job. Strong, clear communication is a must.
In this free guide, the interpreting specialists at Day Interpreting analyze the benefits and challenges of working with an interpreter as a journalist and offer actionable advice.