Ethnographic research in translation and interpreting studies

Maialen Marin-Lacarta*, Chuan Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


In tandem with the growing interdisciplinarity of translation and interpreting studies, and an increasing interest in participant- and process-oriented studies in the field, there has been a burgeoning of innovation in methodologies that transcend disciplinary boundaries. Ethnographic approaches have gained popularity in the last thirty years, as researchers have felt compelled to enter the field to study the agents, their practices and actual processes of translation and interpreting. Whilst the literature on ethnography has flourished in the social sciences, there has been little systematic reflection on how ethnography has expanded translation studies scholarship. In parallel, the divide between translation and interpreting scholars adopting ethnographic approaches has limited the internal dialogue in the field. This article expands the definition of ethnography in translation studies beyond its methodological application to include an understanding of ethnography as an overarching research framework. It also looks into the reasons that explain the relatively late adoption of ethnography in translation studies. Finally, the overview of articles included in the special issue demonstrates how ethnography can contribute to diverse areas of translation studies and points towards future possibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-156
Number of pages10
JournalThe Translator
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Anthropology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Research methodologies in translation and interpreting
  • ethnography in translation and interpreting
  • fieldwork in translation and interpreting


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