Is interpreting of China’s political discourse becoming more target-oriented?
A corpus-based diachronic comparison between the 1990s and the 2010s
Interpreting is an activity embedded in a particular socio-cultural context that underpins norms of interpreting. Adopting the descriptive translation studies approach, this study aims to find out whether the interpretation for the Chinese government by institutional interpreters is becoming more target-oriented in the decade of the 2010s in comparison with the 1990s. Through both quantitative and qualitative analyses of the Corpus of Interpreted Chinese Government Press Conferences in the 1990s and that of the 2010s, the study reveals that there is a significant increase in the total number of target-oriented shifts in the 2010s, manifested predominantly in “inserting hedges before propositional statements” and “modality shifts to attenuate ST’s categorical force.” Only minimal differences are found for the number of shifts in “explicitation of emphatic meanings,” “specification of Chinese source deictic lexis,” and “explicitation of implicit logic relations” between the two periods. The results thus indicate a general trend of becoming more target-oriented in interpreting, particularly a tendency to mitigate ST’s illocutionary force to a greater extent in the 2010s. Such changes in China’s institutional interpreting are correlated with the evolving socio-political context and the norms of institutional interpreting.
Keywords: China’s political discourse, institutional interpreting, target-oriented shifts, corpus-based diachronic comparison
Keywords: discours politique de la Chine, interprétation institutionnelle, changement d’orientation vers le public cible, analyse de corpus et comparaison diachronique
Published online: 09 June 2021
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