What is the final state of unity of an interfaith, bilingual organization? After introducing such social service aids as translation, does it exhibit more or less solidarity among its members? This paper seeks to determine this final state of solidarity, through tracing the accretion or loss of emotional energy (EE) in a social movement group (Collins 2004). Two kinds of translation, consecutive interpretation (CI) and simultaneous interpretation (SI), are observed for their EE production, according to interaction ritual theory (IR) (Collins 2004), and recommended conditions are given the better production of EE.
After spending one year in a social movement group, during which qualitative data was collected using ethnographic participant-observation methods, I found that this group engaged in two kinds of translation, both of which led to lower EE. Both types led to a decrease in EE because of the non-optimal states of ingredients necessary for a successful interaction ritual (IR), (1) a mutual focus of attention and (2) emotional entrainment. Those in CI experienced overlaps and gaps in their presentations, and these irregularities caused certain interactional problems between foci, and the lack of an agreed upon rhythm for achieving entrainment. In SI, the foci of attention were visually and auditorily split, and the two rhythms inherent in English and Spanish mismatched such that emotional entrainment was difficult to attain. However, religion had a positive effect for the organization, in that it provided high EE to compensate for the loss of EE resulting from moments of translation; religion produced energy through its cultural actions, tools, and forms, with these assets resembling those cited in other church cultures, such as the black church culture. The data in my research support Pattillo-McCoy’s conclusion that religion in its cultural forms can promote organizational goals (Pattillo-McCoy 1998; Bellah et al. 1985; Swidler 1986), and in this case, specifically through the creation of EE.