What is Community Interpreting 甚麼是社區傳譯?

Updated: Jan 28

Community interpreting focuses on “service” employed in community-based settings and situations, and this is how it is defined. Community interpreting involves three steps: comprehension, conversion and delivery. The conversion process is the mental translation process, deciding what is the most appropriate and accurate rendition, and this needs to be performed in real time. Delivery presents the end-product (i.e. the verbal output) of interpreting. The delivery form depends on the type and mode of interpreting (simultaneous, whispering simultaneously into the minority language, long consecutive, dialogue and whispering simultaneously into the mainstream language) and the purpose of the interaction.

Community interpreting takes place in:

  • A doctor’s surgery

  • A social worker’s/ a lawyer’s office

  • A jail

  • A police station

  • A courtroom ...

Community interpreting requires…

1. Extensive knowledge of social and institutional settings

Due to confidentiality and the impossibility of knowing the purpose of the interaction, community interpreters have to equip themselves with a broad range of knowledge and jargon.

2. Accuracy

Accuracy is among the most important of the codes of ethics for community interpreting. An untruthful transmission of the message violates the users’ and providers’ fundamental right to truth.

3. Confidentiality

Community interpreters do not disclose private or proprietary information learned during the execution of his or her professional duties, except where disclosure is required by institutional regulations or by law.

4. Impartiality

Community interpreters refrain from allowing personal beliefs to manifest in his or her professional conduct, especially when rendering the content and tone of the message.

Interpreting process and conversation:

During this process, interpreters perform internal and external levels of understanding of the discourse. If not well-prepared, the interpreters may encounter the following problems. For example, if interpreters fail to perform enough research on the topic, they may mistranslate of the terms. If the speakers’ speech lacks coherence, interpreters will also find it difficult to interpret.

Difference between community interpreting and conference interpreting:

There are three main differences between community interpreting and conference interpreting:


The mode of conference interpreting is generally simultaneous while community interpreting can be any mode including simultaneous, consecutive, sight translation, etc.

2. Level of formality

The register of conference interpreting is generally formal (except informal language for jokes or idioms) while community interpreting can vary from being very informal to very formal.

3. Participants

Participants of conference interpreting are generally professionals while those of community interpreting are of differing status.

Community interpreting needs further development in many aspects, because of…

  1. the main participants: the powerless, e.g. migrants/ refugees

  2. the disorganised and unstructured state of the industry

  3. the absence of mandatory university education

  4. the lack of a strong professional identity

  5. the general unawareness of the complexity of the task


社區傳譯指的是在社區和社會相關的情景下,為避免語言不同造成溝通障礙而存在,目的是促進社會實體之間的交際溝通。社會實體包括各種主流社會群體和倫理差異或語言層面弱勢的亞群體或少數民族。社區傳譯包括三個步驟:理解,轉換和表達。 轉換過程是社區傳譯決定何謂最合適和最準確的翻譯形式的心理過程,而這需要實時即時進行。而表達是社區傳譯口頭輸岀的最終產品,取決於社區傳譯的類型和方式和互動的目的。


  • 手術中

  • 社工/律師的辦公室

  • 監獄

  • 警署

  • 法庭......


  1. 傳譯員對社會和制度有廣泛的認識。由於需要保持機密,以及不可能事先得知該次交流的目的,因此社區傳譯員需要裝備自己,學習不同的知識和專用詞彙。

  2. 準確。在眾多社區傳譯的職業操守裏,準確度是最重要的。如果訊息表達得不準確,有機會侵犯用戶和當時人了解真相的權益。

  3. 保密。社區傳譯員不可披露其在執行其專業職責期間所得知的私人及專利資料,除非機構法規或法律要求披露。

  4. 公正。社區傳譯員要避免在工作上體現個人信仰,特別是在傳達訊息的內容和語氣時。





1. 模式


2. 形式


3. 受眾



  1. 主要幫助移民/ 難民等弱勢社群

  2. 沒有組織,沒有系統

  3. 沒有學歷的要求

  4. 沒有強調專業資格

  5. 大眾忽視社區傳譯的複雜性

Prepared by:

KIANG Hin Cheung

YAU Oi Ying

CHAN Hiu Laam

LEE Wing Ping

Edited by:

Dr. Janice Pan


Hale, S. B. (2007). Interdisciplinarity: Community Interpreting in the Legal Context. In Community interpreting (pp. 64-98). Hampshire: Palgrave McMillan. doi:

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