Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1384-6647
  • E-ISSN: 1569-982X
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This paper investigates the negotiation of interpersonal relations by interpreters in Chinese government press conferences – a major instrument for the promotion of public diplomacy in China. Drawing on the theory of linguistic modality in systemic functional grammar (SFG) and the concept of explicitation (Englund Dimitrova 1993), we present a corpus-based discourse analysis of interpreters’ explicitation of modality and connect it to their participation in negotiating interpersonal relations in such a setting. Quantitative results indicate a noticeable trend of explicit use of modal expressions in target speeches in both interpreting modes, i.e., consecutive and simultaneous. Data from qualitative analysis illustrate the various explicitations that manifest interpersonal relations on different levels between interactants on the scene. We conclude by underlining the role of government press conference interpreters as active co-participants in public diplomatic settings, discussing the contributions of this work to empirical research on interpreters’ agency and its limitations, and suggesting new directions towards which further research might be carried out.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): conference interpreting; corpus; explicitation; modality; role
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