Interpreting takes place in many settings and for many reasons, yet at heart the purpose of interpreting is to facilitate communication between parties who do not share a common language. Trained, qualified interpreters faithfully interpret for all parties without adding, omitting or changing the message. And yet, their professionalism not only enables direct communication, it also supports communicative autonomy.
Unlike more “transactional” interpreting specializations such as business and conference interpreting, community interpreting overcomes language barriers in order to provide community services to at least one of the parties present in the encounter. When a patient or client works with a trained, qualified interpreter, she speaks with her own voice and makes her own decisions. The service provider directs questions and comments to the patient or client — not the interpreter. Regardless of whether the same interpreter is present for all encounters or if different interpreters are called in, communicative autonomy supports a direct, respectful relationship between two parties who do not share a common language.