Call for Papers: Power and Ideology in Interpreter-Mediated Contexts


2nd International LARIM Conference

Power and Ideology in Interpreter-Mediated Contexts

UNINT, 23-24 November 2017

LARIM (Laboratory of Interpreter-Mediated Interactions), a research group on interpreter-mediated interactions set up in October 2012 within the Faculty of Interpreting and Translation (FIT) of UNINT (University of International Studies of Rome), is organizing its 2nd International Conference on 23-24 November 2017.

Our 1st conference ‘Interpreter-mediated interactions: methodologies and models’ was held in Rome on 7-9 November 2013 as a tribute to Miriam Shlesinger. Three publications have seen the light since then, which were inspired by and based on many of the contributions to that conference:

  • Biagini, Marta; Boyd, Michael S.; Monacelli, Claudia (eds) (in press) The Changing Role of the Interpreter: Contextualising norms, ethics and quality standards. London/New York: Routledge.
  • Biagini, Marta; Davitti, Elena; Sandrelli, Annalisa (eds.) (2017) Participation in Interpreter-mediated Interaction: Shifting along a multidimensional continuum. Special issue of the Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 107, January 2017.
  • Bendazzoli, Claudio and Monacelli, Claudia (eds.) (2016) Addressing Methodological Challenges in Interpreting Studies Research. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

In the most recent publication above, still in press, the editors close the volume with an Afterword where they express the following

It would be interesting for future research to further examine the relationship between the interpreter’s performance and the institutional discourse producer’s ownership of discourse and social practices. In such a view discourse ownership could be construed in terms of its relation to power and ideology focusing on the correlation between the discourse producer and the interpreter. Thus, does the dominant position of the speakers, be they from the military, political, legal, media sphere or other, condition and influence the interpreter performance, limiting his/her power of action (Anderson 2002/1976)? Are interpreters able to produce more or less divergent and non-normative behaviours, thus empowering themselves and those they are called to work for? And, if so, to what extent?

This quote begs a number of fundamental questions:

  • Who does the interpreter represent in such encounters?
  • To what extent can intentionality be evinced in micro and macro analyses?
  • Who is responsible for text creation and propagation, i.e. who owns texts?

In terms of power and ideology in interpreter-mediated settings, these are but a few of the many questions text ownership may raise. The 2nd LARIM conference aims to delve into the constructs of power and ideology seeking out studies that focus on evidence – both at a micro and macro level – of emerging trends in authentic data.

Power is one of the most complex concepts in the social and political sciences, partly because there are so many competing definitions, and partly because many key decisions are made behind closed doors, making for confidential settings. At the same time, the analysis of power is critical to our understanding the contexts in which we work. Examining the processes and structures of power leads us to develop knowledge of the forces that shape our organizations, institutions, relationships and, as a consequence, our own opportunities and experiences (Tolmach Lakoff 2000:24) both as professionals and as analysts.

Ideology is closely linked to power in terms of making sense of a shared meaning within a specific context. To date there have been relatively few studies that have concentrated on power and ideology in Interpreting Studies (e.g. Beaton 2007; Calzada Pérez 1997, Katan e Straniero-Sergio 2003; Wallmach 2002, Vuorikoski 2004).

We espouse a wider view of ideology, which also encompasses hegemony (cf. Beaton 2007, Mason 1994, Fowler 1985) as “a set of beliefs and values which inform an individual’s or institution’s view of the world and assist their interpretation of events, facts, etc.” (Mason 1994: 25). In line with scholars operating in the field of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), such as Teun van Dijk (1998) and Ruth Wodak (2001) all language use can be construed, at some level, as ideological. Therefore, as users of language representing other people’s language use, interpreters are necessarily immersed in ideology. The discipline of Interpreting Studies is challenged to examine its role and stance ideologically (Pöchhacker 2006).

Furthermore, in her chapter entitled “Interpreting and Ideology: Research Trends and Methods”, Anne Martin (2016: 225-244) has helped to lay the groundwork for a discussion on power and ideology and we here quote her work – where applicable – when listing the areas of interest for the conference.

We particularly welcome abstracts that address the following topics:

  1. Interpreter status at the service of a dominant ideology
  2. The ways in which the ideology of principals or speakers affects the interpreting process and content
  3. Prevalent discourse about the profession (i.e. professional narratives) and/or the influence of such discourse and ideology in interpreter training
  4. Power and power differential in community and court interpreting settings
  5. The interpersonal nature of interpreting in community and court interpreting setting which may lead to ethical dilemmas for the interpreter, “who frequently have to take uncomfortable decisions of an ideological nature, mostly pertaining to the limits of their role” (Martin 2016: 230).
  6. Daily practice of community and court interpreters seen as a “clash between real life and the idealized role prescriptions of invisibility and impartiality become most obvious” (ibid.).
  7. Directionality and language direction in conference interpreting with ideological connotations, e.g. marked difference between Western Europe and Soviet Bloc countries until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991.
  8. Interpreting effected in armed conflict settings.
  9. Interpreting and the construction of national images.
  10. Ideological clashes interpreters encounter.
  11. Discourse, power, media and interpreting.
  12. Interpreting and gender issues.
  13. Interpreting and LGBT issues.
  14. CDA-informed corpus-based studies of interpreting.

Contributions based on authentic data collected in a variety of contexts (conference, court, healthcare, pedagogical, inter alia) are sought from analysts who adopt varied tools and approaches including, but not restricted to, the following: Conversation Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis, Corpus-based studies, Sociological approaches, Pragmatic approaches.

Key dates

Proposals for 20-minute papers should be submitted to by 15 May 2017.

The Scientific Committee will evaluate submissions and reply by 15 July 2017.

  • Call for Papers First Circular 15 March 2017
  • Call for Papers Second Circular 15 April 2017
  • Abstracts due 15 May 2017
  • Responses 15 July 2017

Abstract submission guidelines

Abstracts of approximately 300 words (excluding points 1, 2 and 8 below) should be sent as doc, .docx (MS Word 2003 or 2007) or .txt files. They should be structured as follows:

  1. Presenter’s name and affiliation
  2. Short bio
  3. Title
  4. 4-5 keywords
  5. Research area and focus
  6. Research methodology and objectives
  7. Brief summary
  8. Short key bibliography

Conference languages

The official languages of the conference are English and Italian. Simultaneous interpreting (English > Italian; Italian > English) will be offered by FIT volunteer student interpreters.

Scientific Committee

  • Claudio Bendazzoli, University of Turin
  • Marta Biagini, UNINT
  • Michael S. Boyd, UNINT and Roma Tre University
  • Elena Davitti, University of Surrey
  • Giuliana Garzone, University of Milan
  • Gabriele Mack, University of Bologna (Forlì)
  • Raffaela Merlini, University of Macerata
  • Claudia Monacelli, UNINT
  • Annalisa Sandrelli, UNINT
  • Maurizio Viezzi, University of Trieste

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