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Grant number like: FEL-273424-21

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FEL-273424-21Research Programs: FellowshipsLaura E. KunreutherInterpreting the Field, Translating Global Voices: On the Labor of Interpreters in UN Field Missions7/1/2021 - 6/30/2022$60,000.00LauraE.Kunreuther   Bard CollegeAnnandale-on-HudsonNY12504-9800USA2020Cultural AnthropologyFellowshipsResearch Programs600000600000

Research and writing leading to a book on how U.N. mission interpreters translate trauma across different languages and how such translation affects the interpreters themselves.

Drawing on research in Nepal, Geneva, and among refugee interpreters from Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, my project explores the work of field interpreters for UN missions, whose labor is typically invisible but essential to global organizations. My analysis centers around two competing ethical positions that remain in tension and structure interpreter's work in the field. Interpreters must become neutral conduits of voice who translate information faithfully and transparently. Interpreters also frequently describe their role as ear-witnesses, who bear an ethical responsibility to accurately convey often deeply traumatic testimonies in ways that can affect the interpreter's own sense of humanity. At its broadest level, Interpreting the Field explores historical and cultural connections between the invisibility of UN interpreters' labor and the bureaucratic ideals of transparency and global citizenship, asking how these ideals are embodied, or not, in the day-to-day work of UN missions.