Competing narratives and military interpreters’ choices: A case study on China–US disaster-relief joint military exercise

Qianhua Ouyang, Qiliang Xu

    Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Notwithstanding the insightful inquiries into translators’ decision-making through the discourse analysis approach, research on interpreters’ decision-making mechanisms has been focusing more on the cognitive regime due to the evanescent nature of the activity. Social and cultural context that weighs heavily on interpreters’ choices has been largely brushed off. This study, through the lens of narrative theory and bringing in different layers of narratives as a more omnipresent context of the interpreting process, aims to unveil the narrative activators of interpreters’ choices at critical points where major deviations between the input and output occur. The case the research looks at is the midterm consultation conference of the China-US disaster-relief joint military exercise. Public, conceptual and meta-narrative on China-US relations and military relations are first surveyed with reference to reports on government portals and mainstream media in the two countries. A corpus of the transcribed recordings of the aforementioned military event is then built for the analysis. It is found that in most cases, choices of interpreters are activated by immediate verbal input with reference to the closest narratives. However, when the verbal input competes with the held-true public, conceptual and meta-narratives, interpreters may refer to the latter in their decision-making. Implications on interpreters’ roles are also discussed in this research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAdvances in Discourse Analysis of Translation and Interpreting
    Subtitle of host publicationLinking Linguistic Approaches with Socio-cultural Interpretation
    EditorsBinhua Wang, Jeremy Munday
    Place of PublicationOxon; New York
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9780367822446
    ISBN (Print)9780367421755 , 9780367548162
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2020

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Advances in Translation and Interpreting Studies


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