The turns of Interpreting Studies

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Borrowing from the title as well as relevant contents of Mary Snell-Hornby’s latest book on Translation Studies, this paper reviews the development of Interpreting Studies as an academic (sub)discipline and examines it for shifts and milestones that might qualify as “turns” while probing the conceptual content of this popular label. In analogy to Snell-Hornby’s attribution of the roles of precursor, pioneer, master and disciple to those creating and working within a particular “tradition”, this metascientific scheme is applied to the development of interpreting research since the 1950s, with Daniel Gile portrayed as the tradition’s master. Engaging with his groundbreaking historiography, the well-known four-period classification is extended, with particular emphasis on developments since the mid-1990s and newly influential memes and methods as well as disciplinary sources. The notion of “paradigm” is then taken up to discuss various research traditions in the discipline, viewing shifts from one paradigm to another as the “turns” at issue in this paper. Under this heading, the “social turn” and the “qualitative turn” in Interpreting Studies are discussed in terms of their theoretical, methodological and epistemological implications.


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