Walking the tightrope: The role of Peruvian indigenous interpreters in Prior Consultation processes


de Pedro Ricoy R, Howard R & Andrade Ciudad L (2018) Walking the tightrope: The role of Peruvian indigenous interpreters in Prior Consultation processes. Target, 30 (2), pp. 187-211.;

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.

indigenous interpreters; prior consultation; Peru; users' expectations

Target: Volume 30, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2018
Publication date online02/05/2018
Date accepted by journal29/03/2018
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Publisher URL…target.17009.dep