Does interpreting 'steal' conflict? A translational perspective on power and restorative justice

Maitland, Sarah. 2019. Does interpreting 'steal' conflict? A translational perspective on power and restorative justice. Translation and Interpreting, 11(1), pp. 22-42. ISSN 1836-9324 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

‘Restorative justice’ enables the victims of crime to meet with those responsible and to talk about what happened. It is an opportunity for victims to find ways to move on and for offenders to understand the effects of their actions. In the restorative justice literature, it is often assumed that those involved in the restorative process share the same language and ability to understand and communicate. But what happens when communication between an offender and a victim must be mediated through an interpreter? This article considers from a theoretical perspective how the vehicles of restoration – interaction, participation and encounter – and their role in creating empathy between the parties to a crime may be affected when realised in a bi- or multilingual setting. By taking a translational view, that is, by conceptualizing the restorative encounter as a hermeneutic process in which all acts of communication result in understandings that are both provisional and contingent, this article brings the founding theories of restorative justice into critical conversation with theories of language and translation to examine the philosophical implications of interpreting for the restorative justice paradigm in general and the practical dimensions of interpreter-mediated restorative justice interventions in particular.

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Restorative justice; Hermeneutics; Interpreting; Interpreter-mediated communication

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


25 February 2019Published
19 October 2018Accepted

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Date Deposited:

02 Jul 2018 09:43

Last Modified:

11 Mar 2021 15:33

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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