Voices of the Invisible Presence

Diplomatic interpreters in post-World War II Japan

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<i>Voices of the Invisible Presence: Diplomatic interpreters in post-World War II Japan</i> examines the role and the making of interpreters, in the social, political and economic context of postwar Japan, using oral history as a method. The primary questions addressed are what kind of people became interpreters in post-WWII Japan, how they perceived their role as interpreters, and what kind of role they actually played in foreign relations. In search of answers to these questions, the living memories of five prominent interpreters were collected, in the form of life-story interviews, which were then categorized based on Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of ‘habitus’, ‘field’ and ‘practice’. The experiences of pioneering simultaneous interpreters are analyzed as case studies drawing on Erving Goffman’s ‘participation framework’ and the notion of<i> kurogo</i> in Kabuki theatre, leading to the discussion of (in)visibility of interpreters and their perception of language, culture and communication.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

Subjects: Translation studies; Communication Studies

  • Affiliations: 1: Rikkyo University

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