Trait Emotional intelligence and translation: A study of professional translators

Séverine Hubscher-Davidson

A study of 155 professional translators was carried out to examine the relationship between trait emotional intelligence (trait EI) and literary translation, job satisfaction and career success. Participants were surveyed and their answers were correlated with scores from an emotional intelligence measure, the TEIQue. The analysis revealed that literary and non-literary translators have different trait EI profiles. Some significant correlations were found between trait EI and the variables of job satisfaction, career success, and literary translation experience. This is the first study to examine the effect of EI on translator working practices. Findings illustrate that trait EI may be predictive of some aspects of translator behaviour and highlight the relevance of exploring the emotional intelligence of professional translators.

Table of contents

Over the past decade, emotional intelligence (EI) has received increasing attention in the psychological literature, leading to applications in various settings, e.g., organizational, educational, and clinical. There is also much popular interest in EI, for example Goleman’s 1995 best-seller. As highlighted in O’Boyle et al. (2011) there has been increasing evidence of the predictive and construct validity of EI, and recent work has highlighted its key role in areas such as job competency, job satisfaction and well-being. Indeed, the ability to successfully recognize emotions in others and to regulate one’s own emotions could be the key to effective social interaction and a happier self.

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