Translators’ professional habitus and the adjacent discipline: The case of Edgar Snow

Minhui Xu and Chi Yu Chu

Simeoni’s seminal paper (1998) has spurred many to investigate translators’ habitus, both initial and professional, though fine-grained analysis is lacking. This paper argues that a translator’s professional habitus is highly influenced by the adjacent discipline. With Edgar Snow as an illustrative case, it attempts to explore the influence of journalism on the structuring of Snow’s professional habitus as a translator. An analysis of Snow’s social trajectory and inculcation of journalistic habitus and his translation strategies as a journalist translator, especially those of deletion of ‘telling,’ addition of ‘showing,’ and changing of beginning and ending, demonstrates that Snow’s professional habitus as a translator is obviously affected by his profession as a journalist. The translator’s habitus is a locus revealing a visible embodiment of interdisciplinary influences, and his/ her professional habitus is a combination of dispositions of both the profession of translation and the profession of the adjacent discipline.

Table of contents

Simeoni’s seminal paper arguing for a pivotal status of the translator’s habitus in translating activities (Simeoni 1998) has spurred many to investigate the notion of translator’s habitus in the field of translation studies. These investigations have made use of different data from various empirical studies. The most influential studies presented in English include, among others, Inghilleri (2003, 2005), Sela-Sheffy (2005), Gouanvic (2005), and Meylaerts (2008, 2010). Starting from Bourdieu’s concept of habitus (Bourdieu 1977, 1993), translation studies scholars have explored possibilities to conceptualize the specific habitus of translators, [ p. 174 ]focusing on their social and individual trajectories as a way to understand and interpret the translators’ strategies and the translational behavior.

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