Why interpreting studies matters

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This paper takes up the theme of the Ljubljana EST Congress from the perspective of interpreting studies. The basic assumption that the existence of a distinct research community dedicated to the study of interpreting corresponds to an epistemological need is illustrated with regard to related work in psychology and sociology. On the assumption that the research output of interpreting scholars needs a ‘market’, interpreter education, professional practice, and institutional user contexts are examined as domains for which interpreting studies might matter. With special emphasis on community settings, the potential of interpreting research to shape social practices in relevant institutional contexts is discussed with reference to recent examples. Given the obstacles to interdisciplinary publication and impact, it is suggested that interpreting scholars need to invest also in ‘D’ (development) rather than ‘R’ if they wish their findings to matter to those who shape the social practices in which (community-based) interpreting is embedded.


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