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The text "Interpreting for Romanian Rroma" by Sorina Chiper, Asist. univ. drd. Universitatea "Al. I. Cuza", Iasi, Romania is posted and accessible online in English.
[...]many members of the Rroma population have been summoned in EU countries courts. According to the principle of the human right to a fair trail, courts have to provide interpreters in cases where defendants are not inhabitants of the particular country where they are sued. Interpreting for the Rroma is a very demanding process. The interpreter faces the task of bridging multiple gaps: linguistic, cultural, cognitive and psychological gaps even. First, the linguistic gap is complex in that interpreting is not done into and from the specific dialect that the defendant speaks. There are a large variety of Rromani dialects and sociolects that can, at points, be mutually obscure. It is not only that the dialect spoken differs on account of borrowings from the language spoken in host countries. What is more, there are dialectal differences between professions. The first steps towards a unitary Rromani language were taken only in 1990 by adopting a universal Rromani alphabet and by instituting a universal Rromani language. Since there are very few speakers of this international language, interpreting is done in the Rroma’s second language, which, in the case discussed in this paper, is Romanian. Quiet often, the Rroma’s mastery of this second language is rather limited. This is so because, for various reasons, they have not been exposed to much education. On the one hand, some of them could not afford to go to school but on the other hand some others were not interested in it, or refused it so as not to get in touch with the majority population, for fear of discrimination. Second, legal terminology, the so-called “legalese,” irrespective of the language, is quite cryptic to anyone who does not actually work in the field. [...] The interpreter, therefore, is actually required to perform a double task: to interpret both inter-lingually and intra-lingually, between legal English and legal Romanian, and between legal Romanian and every-day Romanian, so that the Rroma can understand. This process of inter-lingual and intra-lingual interpreting is parallelled by a process of cultural translation. In the specific case of interpreting for the Rroma of Romanian nationality, the process of cultural translation involves bridging the gap between the two legal systems. [...]