Pragmatic analysis as a methodology: A reply to Gile’s review of Setton (1999)

Robin Setton

A few years ago I proposed a new ‘cognitive-pragmatic’ approach to understanding simultaneous interpretation (Setton 1999) which has, gratifyingly, been acknowledged in several reviews, including one in these pages (Target 13:1 (2001, 177–183). The editor has kindly let me use it as an opportunity to clear up some misunderstandings, respond to some stimulating challenges, and try to develop some recent ideas on how to operationalise the paradigm.

Table of contents

Daniel Gile’s summary of the book’s content is fair as far as it goes, but disappointing in virtually ignoring the whole pragmatics dimension—specifically the application of Relevance theory (RT) to interpreting. Some other proposals which go unchallenged include (i) the argument that the very fact of translation lends strong support to the language of thought hypothesis; (ii) the discussion of possible evidence from pause patterns for a model of attention allocation (Chapter 7) ; and (iii) the epistemological proposal that everything uttered by the interpreter (or any speaker) must be sourced and accounted for in cognitive and pragmatic terms, thus allowing—a rather important claim, I feel—TL elements formerly marginalised or dismissed as ‘stylistic’, ‘neutral’ or ‘subjective’ (in information-centred accounts) to be integrated in a cognitive and communicative account of the interpreting process.

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