Fabrizio Gallai: Applications of Relevance Theory-informed approaches to translation and interpreting: Training and practice

Abstract

Translators and interpreters seem to have a limited understanding of how communication and cognition work. While some countries and international organisations attempt to set out their duties in official guidelines, such recommendations systematically fail to mention cross-pragmatic skills, and may enforce a mechanical ethics on interpreters.

This paper builds on previous developments in Relevance Theory (RT)-informed approaches to translation and interpreting (T&II) in an attempt to clear the ground for training and practice. Firstly, theoretical and methodological aspects of RT-informed research on interlingual communication are discussed. The focus will be on how the notion of interlingual interpretive use unites (most) the studies in this field. Secondly, my aim is to situate RT research on T&I in the context of current methodological issues: interdisciplinarity,

triangulation, product and process integration, and experimental methods. I will then move on to show how the tools and notions selected can be implemented and related to each other with a view to creating curricula and working in the field of T&I. In this context, I will focus on the central role of cross- and meta-pragmatic competence, and the notions of ethics and quality – the latter being defined as faithfulness plus relevance. Problems may reside in case of a deficient (meta-pragmatic) ability to fully engage with the conceptual and

procedural processes triggered by the source text (e.g., Gallai 2015, 2016). As a result of the loss of procedural meaning, potential for miscommunication increases.

To conclude, practitioners are called upon to apply the appropriate techniques based on pragmatic knowledge in order to deliver a ‘faithful’ rendition, as well as be acutely aware of ethics and what constitutes their role – both at a micro-and macro level of speech. In this scenario, attention to education, recruitment policies, regulation, and raising awareness of professional consciousness are key factors.

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