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Semiotics in translation: Transferring cultural heritage
5 th International Imatra Symposium on Semiotics and Translation Imatra, Finland, June 6–7, 2009
In this article we will share the preliminary results of our on-going research on the memories of interpreters. We have carried out in-depth interviews with representatives of two different samples: experienced dialogue interpreters a) in Estonia and b) in Sweden, most of whom have worked from the 1960s till today. This article sums up the preliminary results for the sample from Estonia. The focus is on the development of the interpreter’s role as seen against the changes in society, cultural and social practices. As for the theoretical background, we view the processes within the framework of Transition Studies (cf. Lauristin and Vihalemm 2010; Kennedy 2002). The methodological framework is ethnographic research. More specifically, we combine narrative studies and memory research (Kirss and Kõresaar 2004; Riessman 1993; Middleton and Brown 2005; Gilbert 2008) gaining data through semi-structured interviews (cf. Nunan 1992; Van Maanen 1983; Gilbert 2008). The analysis of our on-going research also enables us to test and share with our readers the pros and cons of the chosen methodology and methods.
In 2003–2006, a study on the evolving role model of liaison interpreters in Estonia was carried out (Mullamaa 2005; Mullamaa 2006a). The study offers insights into a specific translation culture (Prunč 1997) and the interdependence of the developing of a professional role with the societal processes at the macro and micro levels. It suggests that the 16-year time-span in Estonia after the collapse of the Soviet Union has offered favorable conditions for the development of some principles and strategies that might not have been possible in more rule-governed contexts. In the current research we have used the methodological framework of ethnography. Using the principles of chaining we have found and interviewed 14 practitioners. This article presents the main results of the study.
“The Study of Language and Translation”, Hogeschool Gent, School of Translation Studies-Belgium, Gent, 12-14 January 2006; “New Research in Translation and Interpreting Studies”, Intercultural Studies Group, Universitat Rovira i Virgili- Spain Tarragona, 7-8 October 2005