Publication details [#65636]

Guo, Yijun. 2018. Effects of the interpreter’s political awareness on pronoun shifts in political interviews. A perspective of interpersonal meaning. Babel 64 (4) : 528–547.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper investigates the critical role of the interpreter’s political awareness in interpreting high-level political interviews in China, and its effects on pronoun shifts. Using former Chinese Premier Zhu’s debut press conference in 1998 as a case study, the study examines in detail the pronoun shifts of a China’s Foreign Ministry senior interpreter prompted by her political awareness. It identifies four types of pronoun shifts: (1) from first-person singular pronoun (“I”) to first-person plural pronoun (“we”); (2) from active voice with first-person plural pronoun as subject to passive voice; (3) from pronoun to a third-party noun; and (4) replacement of a noun with an interactant pronoun. The paper considers implications of these findings in relation to relevant studies and to the macro-social institutional context in which the political interpreting is conducted. The paper argues that this type of political awareness is a form of socio-institutional cognition inculcated and developed through the interpreter’s diplomatic identity, their understanding of socio-institutional requirements, strict training and a large quantity of supervised practice. Keywords: conference consecutive interpreting, pronoun shifts, political awareness, conscience politique, interpreter-mediated political interview, entretien politique assisté par un interprète, interprétation consécutive de conférence, changements de pronoms