Profession, Identity and Status: Translators and Interpreters as an Occupational Group
  • ISSN 1932-2798
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2700


The main aim of this paper is to report on an online questionnaire which focused on translator and interpreter perception of their working world, their mindset or , and the impact of Translation Studies and university training on that world. Questions, both closed and open-ended, addressed academic/professional training, present role(s) and attitudes and beliefs about ‘the profession’ itself. Nearly 1000 respondents replied to the questionnaire worldwide. Particular questions focused on how translation should be taught, the role and status of the profession (ideally and in practice), and on personal satisfaction. The results show that university training has had little impact, and that this group of respondents have relatively little interest in the university itself in comparison with lifelong learning, with most emphasis placed on practice and self-development. Members of the group feel themselves to be ‘professional’ due to their specialized knowledge and abilities. However, their professionalism is mainly limited to their responsibilities to the text itself, and there is relatively little interest in the wider context. They are acutely aware of the lack of public recognition, and both the interpreters and the translators agree that translators in particular suffer from a markedly lower social status. However, only a minority of the respondents feel the need to change the status quo and satisfy trait theory criteria regarding professional recognition, possibly because the vast majority of respondents are more than satisfied with their job. In conclusion, it appears that translation can still only be categorized as an occupation rather than as a profession, and it is suggested that a new role be created with its own university course to cater to the professional language provider.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): profession; satisfaction; status; survey; trait theory; translator training; university
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