Challenges Faced by Non-Professional Interpreters in Interpreting Church Sermons in Malaysia

  • Andrew Kai De Tan FOSSLA, UCSI University, Malaysia
  • Mansour Amini FOSSLA, UCSI University, Malaysia
  • Kam-Fong Lee UCSI University
Keywords: challenges; church interpreting; Malaysia; non-professionals


This paper aims to identify the challenges faced by non-professional church interpreters in church interpreting in Malaysia and explore the solutions to resolve those challenges. Using a qualitative approach, six church interpreters were interviewed and observed using an adapted semi-structured interview and an observation checklist. Data analysis revealed that grammatical issues such as SVO reconstruction and tense ambiguity were the most prominent challenge faced, followed by culture-specific items and limited working memory. Interview responses elucidated one main solution employed by church interpreters, which permeates across different domains of challenges as an applicable one-for-all solution, i.e. practice. Moreover, it was concluded that church interpreters are widely non-professionals and essential to the congruent rendering of the sermons in both languages, therefore, they deserve the recognition as an established body of Interpreting studies. Future research could look into prospects of “natural interpreters” and demographics-exclusive qualitative benchmarks for non-professional church interpreting.

How to Cite
Tan, A. K. D., Amini, M., & Lee, K.-F. (2021). Challenges Faced by Non-Professional Interpreters in Interpreting Church Sermons in Malaysia. International Online Journal of Language, Communication, and Humanities, 4(1), 53-74. Retrieved from