A Master of Arts Thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Samah Jaradat Entitled, "Culture in Simultaneous Interpreting of Political Discourse: Obama's Speech in Cairo," May 2010. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis.
Political speeches, especially at times of international crises, play an important role in aiding or obstructing world peace. This is particularly valid for Western/Arab and Muslim relations. Inappropriate renditions (in translation but more so in interpreting) of political speeches might thus influence the lives of millions of people. Important as they are, political speeches place extra stress on simultaneous interpreters, possibly affecting their choice of strategies and overall performance. Although research on interpreting strategies is relatively small, a generally agreed upon point is that interpreters perform better into their mother tongue. The aim of this thesis is to assess this hypothesis by identifying strategies adopted by three different professional interpreters of the historical speech delivered by United States president Obama on June 4th, 2009 in the city of Cairo, Egypt. Using culture-bound elements in the speech, three different interpretations performed by Arab interpreters working for three established Arabic TV stations -Al- Jazeera, Al-Arabiya and Al-Masriya- were analyzed. The examination of interpreting strategies used indicates that received wisdom about interpreters performing better into mother tongues cannot be sustained. The analysis also indicates that transcoding was found to be the most widely used strategy with message abandonment coming second. In most cases, the adoption of either strategy results in awkward and unidiomatic renditions that do not appeal to the ears of the recipients.