Het zelfbeeld van sociaal tolken, een miskend en onderschat beroep | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 55, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1876-9071
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5729



Public service interpreters ( in Dutch) – who work in hospitals and legal settings (such as courts and police stations) – play a fundamental role in the communication and integration process of allochtonous people. It is therefore not surprising that the final report of the Special Interest Group of Translation and Interpreting for Public Services points out that the profession is referred to as: ‘not just a matter of communication, but a matter of natural rights, of human rights: rights to be promoted, defended and guaranteed’ (SIGTIPS Final Report 2011, p. 7). Despite its significant social function, public service interpreting still lacks professionalization, even though the situation often changes from country to country. In some European countries, privatization and outsourcing of public service interpreting result in the violation of the right to linguistic assistance in public services, a phenomenon which has had significant repercussions not only at social level, but also on interpreters’ self-perception of their status. Drawing on Inghilleri’s theories on the way in which macro-social features have an impact on interpreting (2004; 2007), the present contribution presents the findings of a survey on the professional status of 39 public service interpreters working in The Netherlands, a multicultural and multilingual country where the provision of interpreting services has been particularly impacted by national policies. Special attention will be paid to the following questionnaire sections: income, perception of status, social value and the future of the profession.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): professional status; public service interpreters; survey; The Netherlands
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