[New Publication] A multi-dimensional analysis of the representation of conference interpreters in the Chinese media

By Yiwei Du and Binhua Wang

Published in Translation Spaces


Though interpreters’ professionalism has been discussed in interpreting studies, there have been few studies on how the general public see the image of interpreters. The present study is a multi-dimensional analysis of the image of conference interpreters as represented by the media, which is based on a corpus of 60 news reports about interpreting and interpreters in the Chinese media in the past 10 years. It explores the research question: How are conference interpreters represented in the Chinese media? Through thematic and rhetorical analysis of the headlines and body texts as well as multimodal analysis of the photos in the news reports, it is found that conference interpreters are represented by institutional conference and diplomatic interpreters, who are in turn represented as “stars” or public celebrities of the profession; they are frequently presented along with big events and big names, and portrayed as affiliating to power and as distant from the public. Images of female beauties among them are also selected and “consumed” as in popular culture. This implies a discrepancy between the self-perception of the interpreting profession and their representation by the media.