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CONCLUSION 147 Conclusion This book has described the interpreting arrangements at theTokyo Trial and presented a sociopolitical analysis of their distinctive features and of the behaviour of some of the linguists, in particular during the testimony of Hideki Tojo. Drawing on a wide variety of materials, including previously classified documents and interviews with some of the linguists, this book has provided new information on an important trial that has been somewhat neglected in previous studies of the history of interpreting. It has also highlighted the political context of the trial and the social and cultural backgrounds of the linguists as key factors in the selection of the linguists, the procedures of interpreting and the behaviour of some of the linguists. Two points as to the historical significance of the Tokyo Trial are worth making in closing. One concerns the position of the Tokyo Trial in the history of conference interpreting in Japan, the other concerns the historical parallels and comparisons between the experiences of the Nisei linguists who worked at theTokyoTrial and the circumstances being faced by some of the military linguists currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. 148 INTERPRETING THE TOKYO WAR CRIMES TRIAL The Tokyo Trial and Interpreting in Japan The Tokyo Trial was an international forum involving people from more than ten countries, and, in addition to English and Japanese, Chinese, Russian, German, French, Dutch and Mongolian were also spoken during the proceedings (as discussed in Chapter 2). The interpreting, therefore, had some characteristics of the “conference” mode rather than the “dialogue” mode, involving a relatively large number of multilingual participants and formal meeting procedures. Relay interpreting, which is often used in conference settings, was also used at the Tokyo Trial. It is possible that before the trial there had been meetings at which Japanese and two or more other languages were spoken, with relay interpreting, but this was the first time that dedicated interpreters, rather than delegates or other participants present for other purposes, engaged in the task of interpreting in a booth with simultaneous interpreting equipment over a long period of time.The interpreting at the Tokyo Trial should therefore be considered as a precursor to conference interpreting in Japan. At the same time, it should be acknowledged that some essential aspects of conference interpreting were missing from the Tokyo Trial. For example, while the first Nuremberg Trial is often cited as a milestone in the history of conference interpreting, or as “the coming of age” (Baigorri Jalón 1999, 34) of simultaneous interpreting, the Tokyo Trial involved consecutive interpreting, and the interpreters who worked during its proceedings did not become involved in the professionalization of conference interpreting in Japan (see Torikai 2009). Thus, in Japan there was no linear development of the profession of interpreting equivalent to the development of simultaneous conference interpreting from Nuremberg to the United Nations and beyond. Nevertheless, the Tokyo Trial should be regarded as an important event in the history of interpreting in Japan, since the Japanese public became familiar with the system of interpreting over the course of the proceedings, and even gained some impression of CONCLUSION 149 what simultaneous interpreting would be like from reports and photographs in the press of court participants wearing headsets to listen to translations of prepared statements. The Tokyo Trial also provided an unprecedented amount of data on interpreting between English and Japanese, and may in fact be the source of the largest corpus of interpreting between these two languages to date. Contemporary Parallels Anthony Pym (1998a, x) has argued that“we do translation history in order to express, address and try to solve problems affecting our own situation.” In this light, the extraordinary experiences of the Nisei monitors discussed in previous chapters may shed some light on the issues faced by military interpreters today. To begin with, some parallels and comparisons may be drawn between the backgrounds of the Nisei linguists who worked at the Tokyo Trial and the situations of some of the linguists currently serving with the U.S. military. In both cases, an event of historic magnitude (the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks on 9/11) prompted the U.S.government to recruit and train interpreters and translators (of Japanese in the early 1940s and of Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Urdu, Kurdish, Pashto, and other languages today) for its military and intelligence operations. In both cases, some of these linguists were recruited from among groups that the U.S. government previously viewed...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780776619125
Related ISBN
9780776607290
MARC Record
OCLC
695537968
Pages
192
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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