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Self-Study Module 3: Interpreting in a Refugee Context
This document, which focuses on interpreting in the context of forced displacement, is one of a series of self-study modules developed by UNHCR’s Division of International Protection Services. UNHCR first published a self-study module on interpreting in a refugee context in June 1993. That earlier module helped to create a greater awareness and understanding of interpretation issues arising in the context of refugee protection. However, interpretation standards and principles have been constantly evolving, and advances in the field over the past fifteen years have been significant. The module has thus been revised to reflect these latest developments in the field of interpretation.
The function performed by interpreters, that of overcoming the barrier of language, is vital in any international context. It assumes an added dimension when practiced in an effort to assist UNHCR in its core work: protecting and seeking durable solutions for refugees. Persons who are called upon to provide interpreting services, especially those with little previous experience of UNHCR’s work, need guidance on how to perform their role effectively. This self-study guide is designed to
- familiarize interpreters with the principles and techniques of interpretation
- be used as a reference tool for UNHCR staff in the field
- assist UNHCR staff and partners in the field, who frequently use the services of interpreters, in designing and conducting their own training sessions.
In sum, this self-study module is a practical reference tool that can be used for self-learning as well as classroom training.