Riccardo Moratto, Ph.D.

Public Service Interpreting (PSI): Issues, Methods, and Ethics

Call for papers



Public Service Interpreting (PSI): Issues, Methods, and Ethics


Date: August 1, 2020


We are seeking contributions to an edited volume focusing on public service interpreting (PSI): issues, methods, and ethics. This volume sets out to explore interdisciplinarity issues and strategies in PSI, focusing on ethical and deontological issues, training curricula and methods, translational problems and strategies. An international, dynamic, and interdisciplinary exploration of matters related to PSI in various cultural contexts and different language combinations will provide valuable insights for anyone who wishes to have a better understanding when working as communities of practice.


PSI is used by the police, in courts, immigration services, solicitors, local government, health providers and every other part of the public services that has a language need. Under the broad term of PSI, legal interpreting, medical interpreting and social interpreting (Pöchhacker, 2004) are often referred to as its sub-categories. In the literature, the term “community interpreting” is the most widely used when describing interpreting for public services. In Canada, interpreters working for public services are also referred to as “cultural interpreters” (Mikkelson, 1996). However, in the United Kingdom, the term PSI was introduced in 1994 when the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) was created by the Chartered Institute of Linguists (Hammond, 2007).


As an emerging profession PSI still needs to be regulated. Increased immigration as a result of EU policies has led to greater recognition of the need for governments to facilitate communication between different language speakers and provide entitlement to interpreting and translation services (Hertog, 2015). There are numerous issues facing the interpreting profession in the public sector, including the downward pressure on quality standards as a result of financial constraints on public services, the need to ensure that qualified interpreters maintain their skills throughout their career, and the lack of a clear career path. In other words, it is matter of “defining the profession, providing interpreting services for rare or minority languages, educating stakeholders, moving from training to education, and last but not least interpreting and translation quality” (D’Hayer, 2012).



Unlike other types of interpreting, PSI touches on the most private spheres of human life (Hale 2007:25), making it all the more imperative for the service to move towards professionalization and for ad hoc training methods to be developed within higher institutions of education. As Corsellis (2008: viii) emphasizes “[PSI] is a fast-developing area which will assume an increasingly important role in the spectrum of the language professions in the future”.


A special section in our volume will be dedicated to PSI for Chinese speakers. Miranda Lai (2018) underlines that “due to the Chinese diaspora around the world […], it is not surprising to see Chinese Mandarin, or Putonghua, and sometimes Cantonese […] being serviced in host countries where community interpreting is more established […]. Consequently, the need for language services for those who do not speak Mandarin is slowly on the rise and attracting attention”.


We believe that an international, dynamic, and interdisciplinary exploration of matters related to PSI in various cultural contexts and different language combinations will provide valuable insights for anyone who wishes to have a better understanding when working as communities of practice. For this purpose, we especially welcome contributions, based on different research methodologies (qualitative, quantitative, corpus-based, case studies, etc.), including, but not limited to, ethical issues, professional deontology, training methods and assessment, the role and responsibilities of interpreters, management and policy, as well as problems and strategies within the following interpreting subfields:


-  Healthcare or medical interpreting;

-  Legal interpreting;

-  Police interpreting;

-  Sworn interpreters;

-  Interpreting for social services;

-  Community interpreting at large.



Once we have a set of confirmed authors, we will make a formal proposal to our publisher. For more information regarding our publisher please contact the editorial team. Please submit your proposals, including a 300-word abstract, to the following address:






You will receive notifications of acceptance of abstracts on or before September 30, 2020. If your proposal is accepted, you will be requested to submit a complete essay (approximately 8,000-10,000 words) by the end of December, 2020. All manuscripts will be subject to a blind peer-review process before they are accepted for publication. More details on the paper submission process will be provided once your proposal has been accepted. For any further inquiries, please contact the editorial team at editorspsi@gmail.com


Key deadlines are as follows:

-  Abstract submission: Aug 30, 2020

-  Initial confirmation with a title/abstract: Sep 30, 2020

-  Expected first draft paper due to the editors: Dec 30, 2020 (approximately 8000-10,000 words.)

-  Expected publication date: Autumn 2021



Submission language: English


We look forward to your participation in this project.

Kind regards,


Riccardo Moratto

Defeng Li



Riccardo Moratto is Associate Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS), China. He has published widely in the fields of interpreting studies (IS), Taiwan sign language, Chinese studies, Chinese language and Chinese literature. In 2013 he obtained his Ph.D. from the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU). Over the years he has taught at several universities including Hunan Normal University, Fujen Catholic University, Taipei National University of the Arts, Shih Chien University, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, and National Taipei University of Business. He is a professional interpreter and a literary translator. His most recent work focuses on interpreting history in China, translation and cultural identities, public service interpreting, and the interdisciplinary nature of IS.


Defeng Li is Professor of Translation Studies and Director of the Centre for Studies of Translation, Interpreting and Cognition (CSTIC) at the University of Macau. Previously he taught at School of Oriental and African Studies of University of London, where he served as Chair of the Centre for Translation Studies. He also taught at the Department of Translation, the Chinese University of Hong Kong for a decade.  He also served in adjunct or visiting capacity, as Dean of the School of Foreign Languages, Shandong University during 2006-2011 and Visiting Chair Professor of Translation Studies at Shanghai Jiaotong University. Defeng Li is currently president of World Interpreter and Translator Training Association (WITTA), vice president of Chinese Corpus-based Translation Studies Association and vice president of Chinese Cognitive Translation Studies Association.



Corsellis, Ann. (2008). Public Service Interpreting: The First Steps. London/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

D’Hayer, Danielle. (2012). Public Service Interpreting and Translation: Moving Towards a (Virtual) Community of Practice. Meta, 57: 1, 235–247

Hale, Sandra. (2007). Community Interpreting. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hammond, John (Chief Executive). (2007) The Chartered Institute of Linguists. Preface of DPSI Handbook. IOL Educational Trust.

Hertog, Erik. (2015) Looking back while going forward: 15 years of legal interpreting in the EU. Trans, 19: 1,15-31

Lai, Miranda. (2018). Chinese Public Service Interpreting, in Shei, C. & Gao, Z. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Translation. London/New. York: Routledge.

Mikkelson, Holly. (1996). Community Interpreting: an emerging profession. Interpreting, 1: 1, 125 – 129.

Pöchhacker, Franz. (2004). Introducing Interpreting Studies. London/New. York: Routledge.

Munyangeyo, Théophile, Webb, Graham, and Rabadán-Gómez, Marina (eds.). (2017). Challenges and Opportunities in Public Service Interpreting. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.