Developing professional thinking and acting within the field of interpreting

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The aim of this article is to contribute to the discussion about how professional thinking and acting is developed and spread within the field of interpreting. As a theoretical starting point for the discussion, the central factors affecting strategies that interpreters can and do use in performing interpreting tasks are introduced. As a second basis for the discussion the concept of practical and tacit knowledge is discussed. Three empirical studies are then presented. The first one deals with how students of interpreting and interpreters select strategies during the performance of an interpreting task. The other two concentrate on practical and tacit knowledge within the field of interpreting. Ideally, interpreting performance is based on each situation, makes good use of the individual interpreter’s knowledge and mental capacity and respects prevailing norms. The empirical studies presented show the development of thinking and acting related to interpreting among interpreting students and interpreters. The studies indicate that students are aware of and have integrated essential issues related to professional thinking and acting. However, among students and practising interpreters, as well as within the whole field of interpreting, there still is a need to both develop and to transfer professional thinking and acting.


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