Community Interpreting Database


Community interpreting in face-to-face interactions has become an increasingly common and important phenomenon in many parts of the world as globalization and migration have led to increased linguistic diversity. Such community interpreting comes in many forms: children may translate for their parents in encounters with teachers, doctors, or others, bilingual workers may fill in as ad hoc interpreters in their workplaces (e.g. nurses or police officers), or it may involve professional, trained interpreters, especially in institutional settings such as courts or governmental institutions. The analysis of such encounters can shed light on how individuals with limited proficiency in a society's official language experience this language and its speakers, how they negotiate and adapt their language skills in a new environment, and how interpreters – bilinguals – mediate in this process. Furthermore, interpreting is also a fruitful site for language contact studies, as speakers of minority languages often display some competence in the dominant language and engage in codeswitching, while interpreters often produce utterances in one language that are influenced by the structure of the other language, in ways that may be parallel to community-wide grammatical changes in the contact languages.

Despite this considerable research potential, the study of community interpreting remains a relatively underresearched topic in linguistics. With the Community Interpreting Database (ComInDat), we seek to advance the study of interpreter-mediated interaction from different analytical perspectives. Research in other areas of linguistics, such as the study of child language or of language disorders, has benefitted tremendously from the creation of data exchange systems, by fostering exchange and cooperation between scholars, by furthering the creation of common methods of analysis, and most importantly, by making data openly verifiable and conclusions based on them testable. With ComInDat, we hope to stimulate similar developments in the study of community interpreting. Specifically, ComInDat aims to

By making data available from a variety of settings and with a number of different languages, the database will greatly facilitate comparative investigations, both between interpreter-mediated interactions in different settings or with different languages, as well as between interpreter-mediated interaction and other forms of multilingual interaction. Also, community interpreting often involves language dyads that have been extensively studied in language contact research, such as Spanish/English in the US, or Turkish/German in Germany. This will allow other researchers working on contact between these languages to draw on the corpus and compare its findings to their own.

ComInDat pilot corpus

The ComInDat pilot corpus contains sample data from three different projects:

More information about the background of the corpus and the details of its design can be found in (Angermeyer, Meyer & Schmidt 2012).
For more information about the project, please contact Philipp Angermeyer.
We invite fellow researchers to use the pilot corpus for their own research.

Access to the pilot corpus is password-protected. To obtain a password, please write an email to The Hamburg Centre for Language Corpora (HZSK) at corpora(AT) stating your contact data and information on how you plan to use the corpus. Please note that the use of the corpus is usually restricted to research and teaching purposes. It is not allowed to redistribute the data to third persons without the data owners' consent.

If you have a username and a password, you can access the corpus with your internet browser or query it with the EXAKT tool of the EXMARaLDA system. A detailed description of how to work with the corpus can be found in the document "How to use an EXMARaLDA corpus".



This research is supported by the SSHRC Image, Text, Sound, & Technology programme under the project title "The Integration of Text, Sound, and Image into the Corpus-Based Analysis of Interpreter-Mediated Interaction" (2010-2013). The ComInDat Pilot Corpus was realised in a collaboration between York University, the University of Mainz, the Institute for the German Language (IDS Mannheim) and the Hamburg Centre for Language Corpora (HZSK).