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Well, interpreters… a corpus-based study of a pragmatic particle used by simultaneous interpreters

Bart Defrancq UGent (2016) Corpus-based approaches to translation and interpreting : from theory to applications. In Studien zur romanischen Sprachwissenschaft und interkulturellen Kommunikation 106. p.105-128
abstract
The aim of the present paper is to investigate simultaneous interpreters’ use of pragmatic markers and, more particularly, to determine what motivates interpreters to use pragmatic markers: the norm-driven ambition to render pragmatic markers used by speakers accurately, the desire to deliver a target language adequate expression of the speaker’s mental model (Jacobsen 2002) or a natural tendency to position themselves with regard to what they hear, in spite of a sharp awareness of norms to the contrary. The pragmatic marker well is chosen as a test case for the research, as its various uses in spontaneous varieties of English are well documented, and because it has functional properties that make it likely to be used by interpreters to position themselves. A small set of instances of well was examined, drawn from several sub-corpora: a corpus of English-speaking Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and several corpora of interpretations performed by interpreters in the EP’s English booth. A limited quantitative study shows that interpreters do not significantly underuse the marker well and that the use of the marker is rarely triggered by the presence of a marker in the source text. Interpreters add a significant number of instances and thus compensate for the lack of source text triggering. As far as the untriggered occurrences are concerned, a majority turns out to be motivated by the interpreters’ ambition to represent the speakers’ mental model. The examples show that interpreters clearly apply discourse routines also used by English-speaking MEPs, inserting well at the beginning of the speech, between a reported question and an answer, to mark the start of a stretch of reported speech and to mark disagreement with points of view expressed in the previous discourse. A minority of untriggered occurrences cannot be explained on that basis but are rather interpreter-based: in these cases, well is inserted as a repair marker, discarding previous formulations in the target texts or as a rhetorical device allowing the interpreter to reduce cognitive load. In one interesting case, well occurs as a kind of signpost for the widening semantic gap between the speaker’s and the interpreter’s versions.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
bookChapter
publication status
published
subject
book title
Corpus-based approaches to translation and interpreting : from theory to applications
editor
Gloria Corpas Pastor and Miriam Seghiri Dominguez
series title
Studien zur romanischen Sprachwissenschaft und interkulturellen Kommunikation
volume
106
pages
105 - 128
publisher
Peter Lang
place of publication
Bern
ISBN
9783631693469
DOI
10.3726/b10354
project
EQTIS
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
B2
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
8121838
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-8121838
date created
2016-10-19 17:57:08
date last changed
2017-11-09 12:26:18
@incollection{8121838,
  abstract     = {The aim of the present paper is to investigate simultaneous interpreters{\textquoteright} use of pragmatic markers and, more particularly, to determine what motivates interpreters to use pragmatic markers: the norm-driven ambition to render pragmatic markers used by speakers accurately, the desire to deliver a target language adequate expression of the speaker{\textquoteright}s
mental model (Jacobsen 2002) or a natural tendency to position themselves with regard to what they hear, in spite of a sharp awareness of norms to the contrary. The pragmatic marker well is chosen as a test case for the research, as its various uses in spontaneous varieties of English are well documented, and because it has functional properties that
make it likely to be used by interpreters to position themselves. A small set of instances of well was examined, drawn from several sub-corpora: a corpus of English-speaking Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and several corpora of interpretations performed by interpreters in the EP{\textquoteright}s English booth. A limited quantitative study shows that interpreters do not significantly underuse the marker well and that
the use of the marker is rarely triggered by the presence of a marker in the source text. Interpreters add a significant number of instances and thus compensate for the lack of source text triggering. As far as the untriggered occurrences are concerned, a majority turns out to be motivated by the interpreters{\textquoteright} ambition to represent the speakers{\textquoteright} mental model. The examples show that interpreters clearly apply discourse routines also used by English-speaking MEPs, inserting well at the beginning of the speech, between a reported question and an answer,
to mark the start of a stretch of reported speech and to mark disagreement with points of view expressed in the previous discourse.
A minority of untriggered occurrences cannot be explained on that basis but are rather interpreter-based: in these cases, well is inserted as a repair marker, discarding previous formulations in the target texts or as a rhetorical device allowing the interpreter to reduce cognitive load. In one interesting case, well occurs as a kind of signpost for the widening
semantic gap between the speaker{\textquoteright}s and the interpreter{\textquoteright}s versions.},
  author       = {Defrancq, Bart},
  booktitle    = {Corpus-based approaches to translation and interpreting : from theory to applications},
  editor       = {Corpas Pastor, Gloria and Seghiri Dominguez, Miriam},
  isbn         = {9783631693469},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {105--128},
  publisher    = {Peter Lang},
  series       = {Studien zur romanischen Sprachwissenschaft und interkulturellen Kommunikation},
  title        = {Well, interpreters{\textellipsis} a corpus-based study of a pragmatic particle used by simultaneous interpreters},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3726/b10354},
  volume       = {106},
  year         = {2016},
}

Chicago
Defrancq, Bart. 2016. “Well, Interpreters… a Corpus-based Study of a Pragmatic Particle Used by Simultaneous Interpreters.” In Corpus-based Approaches to Translation and Interpreting : from Theory to Applications, ed. Gloria Corpas Pastor and Miriam Seghiri Dominguez, 106:105–128. Bern: Peter Lang.
APA
Defrancq, B. (2016). Well, interpreters… a corpus-based study of a pragmatic particle used by simultaneous interpreters. In G. Corpas Pastor & M. Seghiri Dominguez (Eds.), Corpus-based approaches to translation and interpreting : from theory to applications (Vol. 106, pp. 105–128). Bern: Peter Lang.
Vancouver
1.
Defrancq B. Well, interpreters… a corpus-based study of a pragmatic particle used by simultaneous interpreters. In: Corpas Pastor G, Seghiri Dominguez M, editors. Corpus-based approaches to translation and interpreting : from theory to applications. Bern: Peter Lang; 2016. p. 105–28.
MLA
Defrancq, Bart. “Well, Interpreters… a Corpus-based Study of a Pragmatic Particle Used by Simultaneous Interpreters.” Corpus-based Approaches to Translation and Interpreting : from Theory to Applications. Ed. Gloria Corpas Pastor & Miriam Seghiri Dominguez. Vol. 106. Bern: Peter Lang, 2016. 105–128. Print.