Speaker positioning in interpreter-mediated press conferences

Christina Schäffner

Abstract

This article investigates potential effects which (the recontextualisation of) interpreted discourse can have on the positioning of participants. The discursive event which forms the basis of the analysis are international press conferences which bring politicians and journalists together. The dominant question addressed is: (How) do interpreter-mediated encounters influence the positioning of participants and thus the construction of interactional and social roles? The article illustrates that methods of (critical) discourse analysis can be used to identify positioning strategies which are employed by participants in such triadic exchanges. The data come from press conferences which involve English, German, and French as source and target languages.

Keywords:
Table of contents

Political communication across national borders often involves translation and interpreting. Discursive practices in the domain of politics (e.g., election campaigns) result in institutional types of political discourse (e.g., coalition treaty). Some of these discursive events (e.g., bilateral meetings of heads of government, international press conferences) are mediated by an interpreter, or texts which are the outcome of meetings (e.g., agreements) are translated.

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