Be(com)ing a Conference Interpreter

An ethnography of EU interpreters as a professional community

| Ghent University
ISBN 9789027258700 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027267054 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
This study offers a novel view of Conference Interpreting by looking at EU interpreters as a professional community of practice. In particular, Duflou’s work focuses on the nature of the competence conference interpreters working for the European Parliament and the European Commission need to acquire in order to cope with their professional tasks. Making use of observation as a member of the community, in-depth interviews and institutional documents, she explores the link between the specificity of the EU setting and the knowledge and skills required. Her analysis of the learning experiences of newcomers in the professional community shows that EU interpreters’ competence is to a large extent context-dependent and acquired through situated learning. In addition, it highlights the various factors which have an impact on this learning process.

Using the way Dutch booth EU interpreters share the workload in the booth as a case, Duflou demonstrates the importance of mastering collaborative and embodied skills for EU interpreters. She thereby challenges the idea of interpreting competence from an individual, cognitive accomplishment and redefines it as the ability to apply the practical and setting-determined know-how required to function as a full member of the professional community.

[Benjamins Translation Library, 124]  2016.  xxi, 392 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
List of Tables
List of Figures
Executive summary
PART 1 Introduction
Vignette 1 Before the meeting
Chapter 1 Situating the study
Vignette 2 Be(com)ing a practisearcher
Chapter 2 Collecting and analyzing ethnographic data: Listening to behaviour, watching knowledge
PART 2 Findings
Vignette 3 Nomads of the institutions
Chapter 3 Organizational frameworks: A portrait of two EU interpreting services
Vignette 4 Looking for the new generation
Chapter 4 Beginners, newcomers & new colleagues: Organizational approaches to 'beginnerdom'
Vignette 5 The eternal beginner
Chapter 5 Learning the ropes: Acquiring situated competence as an EU interpreter
Vignette 6 Bart’s first working day as an EU interpreter
Chapter 6 Turn management in the simultaneous booth
Chapter 7 Turn management for beginners
PART 3 Concluding discussion
Chapter 8 A practice view on conference interpreting - so what?
“A fascinating study of EU interpreters. [...] Let us hope that other practisearchers will embark on fieldwork and observant participation, following Duflou’s fine and compelling approach to the lived experience of EU interpreters, to whom deep gratitude must be expressed for their collaboration and willingness to reveal their professional selves with a human touch.”
Cited by

Cited by 20 other publications

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Bahadır, Şebnem
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Bartłomiejczyk, Magdalena
2017. The interpreter’s visibility in the European Parliament. Interpreting. International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting 19:2  pp. 159 ff. Crossref logo
Bartłomiejczyk, Magdalena
2020. How much noise can you make through an interpreter?. Interpreting. International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting 22:2  pp. 238 ff. Crossref logo
Collard, Camille & Bart Defrancq
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Flynn, Peter
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Hu, Bei
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Jones, Alun
2020. “The Interpretation Zone”: European Geopolitics and the Interpretive Body. Annals of the American Association of Geographers  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Magnifico, Cédric & Bart Defrancq
2019. Self-repair as a norm-related strategy in simultaneous interpreting and its implications for gendered approaches to interpreting. Target. International Journal of Translation Studies 31:3  pp. 352 ff. Crossref logo
Monacelli, Claudia
2018. Magdalena Bartłomiejczyk. Face threats in interpreting: A pragmatic study of plenary debates in the European Parliament . Interpreting. International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting 20:1  pp. 156 ff. Crossref logo
Risku, Hanna, Regina Rogl & Jelena Milosevic
2017. Translation practice in the field. Translation Spaces 6:1  pp. 3 ff. Crossref logo
Risku, Hanna, Regina Rogl & Jelena Milosevic
2019.  In Translation Practice in the Field [Benjamins Current Topics, 105],  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Russo, Mariachiara
2018.  In Making Way in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies [New Frontiers in Translation Studies, ],  pp. 115 ff. Crossref logo
Scardulla, Cristina
2020. The interpreters’ point of view on ELF at the European Commission: “A completely uneven playing field”. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 9:2  pp. 195 ff. Crossref logo
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2021. Effects of source languages on Swedish translation students’ socialisation processes. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Tiselius, Elisabet
2019. The (un-) ethical interpreting researcher: ethics, voice and discretionary power in interpreting research. Perspectives 27:5  pp. 747 ff. Crossref logo
Tiselius, Elisabet & Adelina Hild
2017.  In The Handbook of Translation and Cognition,  pp. 423 ff. Crossref logo
Wit, Maya de, Onno Crasborn & Jemina Napier
2021. Interpreting international sign: mapping the interpreter’s profile. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo

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Translation & Interpreting Studies

Translation Studies
BIC Subject: CFP – Translation & interpretation
BISAC Subject: LAN023000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Translating & Interpreting
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2016009021 | Marc record