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Walking the tightrope: The role of Peruvian indigenous interpreters in prior consultation processes

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rosaleen Howard



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by John Benjamins, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The passing into law of the Prior Consultation Act in Peru in 2011 was a turning point in the country’s contemporary history: it enshrined the right of Peruvian indigenous peoples to be consulted prior to the State’s adopting an administrative or legislative measure that affects their collective rights and to use their own languages during the consultation. This requires, more often than not, the services of interpreters. This article focuses on the complexities of the interpreter’ role in the Peruvian context and how the beneficiaries of the interpreters’ work perceive it. Our analysis reveals that the interpreters’ performance is determined by two special circumstances: first, interpreting in prior consultation processes straddles public-service interpreting and business interpreting; and second, the fact that the interpreters are trained and employed by the State creates a tension in the communication between the latter and the indigenous peoples. We will introduce the socio-political context and the State-led initiatives designed to ensure compliance with the law, including the training programme managed by the Indigenous Languages Division of the Ministry of Culture, to provide a background to the findings that our research yielded. These derive from observation and from interviews and meetings with relevant institutional actors and interpreters and will be illustrated by a case study.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pedro R, Howard R, Andrade L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Target

Year: 2018

Volume: 30

Issue: 2

Pages: 187-211

Online publication date: 02/05/2018

Acceptance date: 29/03/2018

Date deposited: 13/12/2017

ISSN (print): 0924-1884

ISSN (electronic): 1569-9986

Publisher: John Benjamins


DOI: 10.1075/target.17009.dep


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