From "within" to "beyond" in interpreting studies: Conceptualizing interpreting as a socio-political and historical shaping force and a source of inter/trans-disciplinary conviviality

Chonglong Gu, Binhua Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

While there have been recent calls for an “outward turn” in (written) translation studies, interpreting researchers have mostly taken an inward-looking view of interpreting and investigated it as a semi-closed system and an arguably self-interested practice from within. This is despite the fact that interpreting in various forms and settings has since time immemorial been a co-constructing factor in the transfer of knowledge and also a vital shaper of history, (geo)politics, culture, religion, communication, and our human civilization. Going from “within” to “beyond”, this article conceptualizes interpreting as a consequential socio-political and historical shaping force and a source of inter/trans-disciplinary conviviality and argues for an outward turn in interpreting studies (IS). This article reviews a few pertinent recent studies with interdisciplinary and outward-looking features that have endeavoured to answer the important “so-what” question in IS. These studies highlight the vital role and far-reaching impact of interpreting and interpreters in shaping different spheres of human communication and civilization across time and space. The article also points out directions to move IS forward from a predominantly inward-looking practice. We argue that it is high time we ventured out of the comfort zone, got off the well-trodden path and took an outward-looking view of interpreting so that the sub-discipline can have more meaningful and mutually enriching dialogues with other disciplines and subject areas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBabel
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • interdisciplinarity
  • interpreting studies
  • outward turn
  • outward-looking

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