The Politics of Language: Translators

Lisa Hajjar

in Courting Conflict

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780520241930
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937987 | DOI:
The Politics of Language: Translators

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This chapter considers the politics of language in the military court system, highlighting the roles, practices, and perspectives of translators, most of whom are Druze. The state's policies toward the Druze community provide a vivid case of social engineering to politicize and manage identity in ways that conform to and serve state interests. Moreover, the chapter discusses how Druze Israelis became bilingual. The Druze are preferred for the role of translators because they have both bilingual skills and a sociopolitical status as “non-Arab Arabs.” The role translators perform contributes to maintaining an appearance of due process and the availability of defendants' legal rights by enabling judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers to understand one another and to communicate their points effectively. Druze translators are deterred from adopting or expressing views critical of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Keywords: military court system; translators; Druze; politics; social engineering; bilingual skills; West Bank; Gaza

Chapter.  8914 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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