Role, positioning and discourse in face-to-face interpreting

Ian Mason

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Whereas "role" and "role conflict" have been key terms in the research and development of public-service interpreting, this paper proposes, following Davies and Harré (1990), to substitute the notion of "positioning" for that of "role" in order to reflect the constantly evolving nature of interaction among participants in interpreter-mediated encounters. Positioning differs from footing in that, rather than being the choice of an individual speaker, it evolves as a result of joint negotiation among all the participants (i.e. positions adopted by one participant are either accepted and adopted by other participants or rejected and replaced). The main source of data is a series of televised immigration interviews that illustrate a variety of positioning behaviours. A number of (para)linguistic and pragmatic categories will be suggested to illustrate ways in which participants, by their discursive practices, position themselves and others and are, in turn, affected by each other's positionings. These discursive practices are seen as emanating from social institutions or "communities of practice" (Wenger 1998), which play a part in shaping the perceptions, stance, behaviour and utterances of all those involved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInterpreting and Translating in Public Service Settings
    Subtitle of host publicationPolicy, Practice, Pedagogy
    EditorsRaquel de Pedro Ricoy, Isabelle Perez, Christine Wilson
    Place of PublicationManchester
    PublisherSt. Jerome
    ISBN (Print)9781905763160
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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