Allied Interpreters: Exploring the Role Perception and Ethics of Uncertified Interpreters Supporting Migrant Agricultural Workers in British Columbia

  • Arista Marthyman University of Victoria
Keywords: Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, migrant workers, British Columbia, ethics, interpretation


Uncertified interpreters enable migrant agricultural workers in Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program to access key resources and connect with community. Through providing a range of services, including support work and advocacy, interpreters assist migrant workers at risk of exploitation and injury in Canada. This article explores how uncertified interpreters navigate the power dynamics between migrant workers, interpreters, and other actors. Moreover, this article investigates how uncertified interpreters perceive their role and the ethical values that guide their communicative methods. This study’s research findings show that interpreters may adopt a pro-worker role perception as they gain knowledge of the disempowerment experienced by migrant workers. Arising from this role perception, interpreters may also adopt pro-worker ethical values that renounce interpreter neutrality in favour of accessibility and an explanatory communication style. Ultimately, this article contends that uncertified interpreters may reject some traditional interpretation guidelines to adopt a role perception, ethical framework, and communicative style perceived to be more well-suited to supporting migrant farm workers in British Columbia.


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Author Biography

Arista Marthyman, University of Victoria

BA (Honours)
Department of Sociology
Areas of interest: transnational employment; labor rights; global health; child rights; decolonization


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