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“we were just really in love”: referentiality and clusivity of the pronoun ‘we’ in a Dark Web community of child sex abusers
Aston University, United Kingdom
Criminals use the Dark Web to build networks for conversation and support (Holt et al. 2015). For those with a sexual interest in children, the internet facilitates the abuse of children, the distribution and consumption of illicit imagery and the exchange of ideas and advice (Durkin et al. 2006; Cohen-Almagor 2013; Holt et al. 2015). Such communities create dense linguistic layers of meaning which are difficult to penetrate by persons outside the community. Drawing on Bell’s (1984) notion of audience design, Van Leeuwen’s (2013) social actor framework and Scheibman’s (2004) concept of clusivity, this study aims to investigate how users of a Dark Web child sex abuse forum use the first person plural pronoun ‘we’ by carrying out a two-fold annotation for semantic referents and clusivity. In these texts, first person pronouns are used in a much wider array of contexts than first anticipated. In addition to the well-studied variation in clusivity – that is, differences between exclusive and inclusive referents – large variation across two further axes was identified: group and function. For example, abusers normalise their actions when referring to both a child and a forum user together as ‘we’, portraying children as active and equal partners in those pseudo-intimate relationships. Scheibman’s (2004) clusivity categories are therefore not sufficient in explaining the different pragmatic functions of the pronoun ’we’ in child abuse forum communication. Applications of these findings include online undercover policing, such as infiltration of crime-related fora, as discussed by Grant and MacLeod (2017).
4:30pm - 5:00pm
Case-related materials and court interpreting accuracy: Experimental findings from the quantitative and the qualitative perspectives
Asking court interpreters to provide their services without the provision of preparation materials appears to be inconceivable. This is, however, the norm in the practice of court interpreting in Australia. While the need for briefing had been advocated since the 1990s, little progress was made in Australia until the launch of the Recommended National Standards for Working with Interpreters in Courts and Tribunals in 2017.
This PhD research study is the first of its kind to use the experimental method to study the effects of preparation using case-related materials on court interpreting accuracy. In the experiment, the participants completed two different but comparable interpreting tasks, one with the provision of an expert report for preparation and one without. The two interpreting tasks represented the examinations-in-chief of two different expert witnesses in two criminal trials. The audio-recorded exchanges between the Prosecutor and the expert witness were played to the participants. The participants simultaneously interpreted the content from English into Mandarin, as if they were whispering the content to a Mandarin-speaking defendant. In total, the audio-recorded renditions of 14 practitioners and 12 students were analysed.
This paper presents findings from both the quantitative and the qualitative perspectives. To highlight, preparation using case-related materials helps experiment participants achieve a higher level of interpreting accuracy and deliver more complete and accurate renditions when interpreting specialised terminology, numbers, and content with enumerations and low redundancy—types of content that are prone to interpreting errors.