Author: Li, Ruitian
Title: Interpreters’ rapport management in press conferences held by American institute in Taiwan
Advisors: Cheung, Kay-fan Andrew (CBS)
Li, Dechao (CBS)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2022
Subject: Translators
Translating and interpreting.
Interpersonal communication
Press conferences
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies
Pages: xii, 335 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: The interpersonal mediator role of interpreters resonates closely with the notion of 'rapport management', which Helen Spencer-Oatey (2000, 2008) proposes for the study of interpersonal relations in social interactions. In fact, the interpreters' mediation can be construed more specifically as managing rapport between communicative parties, who differ from each other at the level of language and beyond. Embracing this important idea and the current 'social turn' (Pöchhacker 2006a; Angelelli 2014) that calls to use different social lenses to examine the interpreters' agency as shown in actual mediation process, this study for the first time applies the rapport management model (RMM) to conference interpreting, with purpose of enriching the understanding of the interpreters' mediation from a rapport management perspective.
The data used in this study, i.e. eight sessions of the interpreted-mediated press conferences (2006-2012) held by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), offers an ideal site for a study of interpreters' rapport management. At such a discursive event, rapport manifests itself at an intergroup level concerning the US and Taiwan, which is construed on a moment-to-moment basis by the AIT Directors using appraisal language and is managed via the interpreters to the intended Taiwanese audience. Given that interpreters' rapport management is actually emblematic of their mediation, a comprehensive study of such a phenomenon obviously requires attention to be extended to all three interrelated (linguistic, social, and ideological) dimensions of mediation (Pöchhacker 2008).
In doing so, this study adopts both linguistic and sociological approaches based on a tailored tri-disciplinary theoretical framework. Specifically, it resorts first to the textual-linguistic toolkits in appraisal theory (Martin & White 2005) to model how rapport unfolds dynamically under appraisal formulations in source texts. Then, it draws the explanatory power from the RMM to explore how the interpreters react to momentarily construed rapport and what social concerns might reveal from their rapport management practices. In this respect, attention is focused on interpreting shifts entailing rhetorical effects on various attitude-laden appraisal formulations. Since the original appraisal formulations can be linked to a social component in the RMM, patterns of contextually produced interpreting shifts can thus indicate what social concerns conditioning rapport can become salient to the interpreters. Finally, this study relates the interpreters' linguistic practices and their revealed social concerns to the macro socio-political context, so as to further discuss a potential ideological influence on interpreters' rapport management.
The quantitative findings suggest that conference interpreters, even those working in high-profile political press conference, can bear a significant influence on the originally construed rapport, i.e. the US-Taiwan relationship. The qualitative contextualized analyses showcase that the interpreters' reactions to rapport at the moments when it is originally maintained and enhanced, as compared with their reactions at the moments when rapport is challenged, are completely different. In managing rapport, the interpreters are never indifferent to the social factors permeating human interactions. Rather, as evidenced by the patterns of their produced shifts within original appraisal formulations crucial to rapport unfolding, the interpreters are found to reveal distinct concerns for 'sociality rights', 'face' and 'interactional goals', namely, the three social components incorporated in the RMM. As a form of social practice, the interpreted discourse featuring interpreters' rapport management is also ideologically significant, in that it not only reflects but also reproduces particular deeply rooted ideologies formed in the extralinguistic reality.
Interdisciplinary and product-oriented in nature, this study achieves a critical and creative theoretical importation of the RMM into conference interpreting. It contributes to knowledge exchange and production, in a way that the RMM enriches the understanding of conference interpreters' mediation whilst the interpreted setting develops the 'transformational potential' of the RMM with respect to its application in interpreter-mediated communication. Also, using the naturalistic data for empirical analysis of the interpreting activities conducted in a rarely visited institutional setting and in a relatively underexplored language-pair direction (interpreting from English into Chinese), this study provides data enrichment to the currently mostly sourced data, i.e. Chinese premier's press conference interpreting, that has underpinned most of conference interpreting studies in Chinese interpreting community.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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