Unleashing the power of meta-knowledge: Towards cumulative learning in interpreter training

Qiliang Xu, Qianhua Ouyang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Research on interpreter training has pivoted around the equipment of trainees with skills and competences, whereas scant scholarly attention has been paid to the disciplinary knowledge of interpreting and its power in educational practice. This study defines the disciplinary knowledge of interpreting as a combination of both practical skills and meta-knowledge, with the latter entertaining epistemological power. Using the dimension of Semantics of the Legitimation Code Theory, this article focuses on how the meta-knowledge of interpreting is constructed and transferred among trainee interpreters to obtain epistemological power. The study first unravels how meta-knowledge of interpreting is expressed in training scenarios from a semantics perspective. This is followed by a case study on a memory training session of an undergraduate-level introductory interpreting course at a Conférence Internationale permanente d’Instituts Universitaires de Traducteurs et Interprètes (CIUTI) member institution in China. With discourse analysis as the main approach, teaching and learning discourse in various forms are examined to identify the semantic progression. Quantitative analysis is also performed where necessary to facilitate the discussions. The study’s findings show that the learners achieved cumulative learning through three stages of interactions with academic discourse premised on the intervention of the instructor. Implications for interpreter training as a social practice are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-194
Number of pages26
JournalInterpreting and Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

User-Defined Keywords

  • academic discourse
  • cumulative learning
  • epistemological power
  • interpreter training
  • meta-knowledge of interpreting
  • semantic wave


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