Corpus-based interpreting studies

Mariachiara Russo

Table of contents

The study of the performance of interpreters has always encouraged interpreting scholars to collect samples of authentic speakers’ speeches (or source “texts” – STs, i.e., oral language transcripts) and interpreters’ linguistic output (or target texts – TTs). In the early days, these text collections included only few interpreters and provided anecdotal evidence (Shlesinger 1998) of semantic shifts and textual operations. These were considered anecdotal not necessarily because they lacked methodological soundness, but because observations were limited to few cases and, therefore, could not be assumed to be representative or typical of a wider interpreter population. A case in point is the German into French corpus collected by Lederer (1981) consisting of 3-hour tape recordings of one speaker and two interpreters to illustrate the Interpretative Theory (as quoted in Setton 2011: 39). These collections varied in size, language combination and purpose, but until the introduction of Corpus Linguistics (CL) tools and methodologies, these were essentially plain ST-TT collections (typewritten, stored in computers or in more advanced digital devices), and manually analyzed.

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Further essential reading

Bendazzoli, Claudio, Mariachiara Russo, and Bart Defrancq
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Russo, Mariachiara, Claudio Bendazzoli, and Bart Defrancq
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