Self-repair as a norm-related strategy in simultaneous interpreting and its implications for gendered approaches to interpreting

Cédric Magnifico and Bart Defrancq

This paper analyses a possible gendered manifestation of norms in interpreting. It focuses on the use of self-repair, a textual expression of the norm, by male and female interpreters. Two research questions are examined: (1) whether the extent to which self-repairs occur in interpreting is gendered and (2) whether gender influences the way in which the output is repaired using editing terms. Considering the literature on gender and norm-compliance, female interpreters are expected to produce more self-repairs and editing terms than male interpreters. The research is based on the 2008 subcorpus of EPICG with French source speeches and their English and Dutch interpretations. The interpreters’ self-repairs were manually identified and statistically compared. Regarding the first question, it appears that gender influences the use of self-repairs in interpreting. As for the second one, statistical analysis reveals language-based patterns: in the English booth, women use significantly more editing terms than men. The French/Dutch subcorpus yields no significant difference. However, women seem to also use apologies as editing terms.

Publication history
Table of contents

This paper is part of a broader research project on gender differences in simultaneous interpreting and focuses on a possible gender-based approach towards norms. Research on quality in interpreting has shown that interpreters hold fairly consistent views on what good quality interpretation is, but that gender and age effects are nonetheless observable in survey data (Pöchhacker and Zwischenberger 2010). Perception of quality is determined by norms and so is the interpreting activity itself (Schlesinger 1989; Harris 1990; Schjoldager 1995; Garzone 2002). The question that thus arises is whether norm-adherence is mediated by gender, and whether such differences have an effect on interpreters’ performance.

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