Negotiating Identities in the European Parliament: The role of simultaneous interpreting

Morven Beaton-Thome

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This article investigates the role of simultaneous interpreting (SI) in the European Parliament, focusing on the effect SI has on identity construction and negotiation via detailed comparative analysis of use of the first person plural 'we'. Data from a case study on the potential resettlement of Guant??namo Bay detainees in EU member states is explored using the concepts of in-group and out-group identities to establish interpreter positioning and stance. Descriptive analysis is conducted in three categories: stable 'we' group reference in both ST and TT; ST/TT shifts in 'we' reference present in the ST; and introduction of 'we' reference in the TT where no identifiable trigger exists in the ST. Findings suggest that a trend could be established in the simultaneous interpretations towards intensified use of the inclusive 'we' to refer to 'we, the parliamentary community' and 'we, the EU', at the expense of more peripheral identities such as the national, regional and political group. This points towards a tendency of SI to strengthen the dominant institutional presence, ideology and identity and weaken or fail to represent the full complexity of the ???traffic in voices??? (Bakhtin 1981) and heteroglot identities present in such an institution.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationText and Context
    Subtitle of host publicationEssays on translation and interpreting in honour of Ian Mason
    EditorsMona Baker , Maeve Olohan , Maria Calzada Perez
    Place of PublicationManchester
    PublisherSt Jerome Publishing
    Number of pages21
    Publication statusPublished - May 2010


    • simultaneous interpreting
    • in-group and out-group identities
    • European Union


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