How committed are you to becoming a translator? Defining translator identity statuses

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Abstract

Research on translator identity is scarce in the translation literature. This study explores translator identity in the context of translator education. Translator identity is understood here as the students’ perceptions concerning 1) the translator they envisage to become and 2) the competence they perceive to be developing in order to translate effectively. Concretely, the paper examines translation students’ fluctuation in their translator identity statuses, i.e. the degree of commitment to their translator identity, over the course of one year. To do this, twelve participants from two different Chilean translator programmes engaged in three semi-structured interview rounds during the fourth year of their studies. Thirty-six interviews were transcribed and annotated using the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The emerging themes suggest a crisis-reflection-reconnection process leading to commitment development, which was determined by 1) the participants’ immediateness of action taken after a crisis and 2) their emotional inclination. These elements impacted their subsequent attitude towards practice, their self-efficacy beliefs and their academic performance. The participants’ experiential accounts enabled the definition of identity statuses for the translator education setting: achievers’ commitment remained constant during the year, while conservers and seekers suffered a loss of commitment triggered by external sources, particularly from supra-contextual crises.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Interpreter and Translator Trainer
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2021