Putting directionality into context

Stefanie Dose


The question of directionality, i.e. whether (simultaneous) interpreters should work only from their second into their first language or whether the opposite direction is equally acceptable or even preferable, remains controversial. Although the issue has received much attention, the results of empirical studies are often conflicting, as evidence in support of both interpreting directions has been put forward. It has hence been suggested that interpreting direction may possibly be influenced by extralinguistic factors (Gile 2005). For the study reported on in this article, an analysis is carried out of the success with which interpreters recreate the source language speech’s cohesive relations in their target language rendition. The results demonstrate that interpreting direction is not merely affected by at least one such variable, namely interpreters’ familiarity with the context of the speech to be interpreted, but may in fact be totally outweighed by this variable.


simultaneous interpreting, directionality, familiarity with the topic, cohesion

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5842/45-0-625


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ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

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