Article published in:Legal and institutional translation: Functions, processes, competences
Edited by Fernando Prieto Ramos
[Target 33:2] 2021
► pp. 282–307
A case study of unquiet translators
Relating legal translators’ subservient and subversive habitus to socialization
Remarkable efforts have been made in Translation and Interpreting Studies to test the subservient habitus hypothesis formulated by Simeoni (1998) in his seminal work. In the face of increasing evidence that translators tend to reproduce a given society’s or community’s prevalent norms and contribute to the stability of such norms (Toury 1978), subversive translation practices have been reported (Delabastita 2011; Woods 2012) and indeed promoted as a way of fostering social and cultural change (Levine 1991; Venuti 1992). However, insights into how translators’ subservient or subversive habitus develop and depart from each other are still lacking. In order to shed light on this gray area, this article scrutinizes the contrasts between the habitus of professional legal translators who acquiesce to and who reject the norms governing their positions in the field. Special attention is given to those who decide to abandon the translation field. Their behavior is examined by relating habitus to forms of socialization and studying the implications of their strategies. Based on a case study drawn from interview data, this article focuses on the social practices of resistance and rebellion vis-à-vis subservience, and the impact of both on translation workplaces, work processes, and translators’ futures.
Keywords: legal translation, socialization, translators’ habitus, subversive habitus, deviant behavior, interviews, workplace studies
Published online: 04 June 2021
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