Bilingual formal meeting as a context of translatoriality

Merja Koskela, Kaisa Koskinen and Nina Pilke

Drawing on the concept of translatorial action by Justa Holz-Mänttäri, this article sets out to analyse the role of translation in a bilingual formal meeting without any professional translation or interpreting. The analysis reveals the central role of translatorial activities: 60% of the turns include some kind of translatoriality. The chair and expert speakers stand out as producers for most of the translations. Self-translation is the most prominent form of translation, but otherwise the translator role tends to vary dynamically with the role of the source text producer. Three types of translatorial action with varying degrees of replication of content were found: duplicating, summarizing, and expanding. In the meeting context, translatorial action is the primary means of enabling participation for all, regardless of language skills or language background, and this action was used by the participants in flexible and dynamic ways.

Publication history
Table of contents

Over the past two decades, institutional translation and interpretation have attracted increasing attention in translation studies. As a result, our understanding of professional translators’ and interpreters’ roles and tasks in institutional contexts is gradually increasing (see, e.g., Koskinen 2011; Kang 2014). However, not all translation in institutional contexts is carried out by language professionals. On the contrary, there are numerous settings where people with different linguistic backgrounds work together and different languages coexist without the presence of professional translators or interpreters institutionalised to act in mediating roles. While pragmatic solutions such as working languages are known to be used to reduce linguistic complexity, it is also reasonable to assume that various kinds of ad hoc translating and interpreting performed by other actors may take place in these contexts (see Pilke, Kolehmainen and Penttilä 2015).

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