Towards a Re-Definition of Government Interpreters' Agency Against a Backdrop of Sociopolitical and Cultural Evolution: A Case of Premier's Press Conferences in China

In Olaf Immanuel Seel (ed.), Redefining Translation and Interpretation in Cultural Evolution. Hershey PA, USA: IGI Global. pp. 238-257 (2018)
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The sociopolitical and cultural evolution as a result of the Reform and Opening up in 1978, facilitated not least by the inexorable juggernaut of globalization and technological advancement, has revolutionized the way China engages domestically and interacts with the outside world. The need for more proactive diplomacy and open engagement witnessed the institutionalization of the interpreter-mediated premier's press conferences. Such a discursive event provides a vital platform for China to articulate its discourse and rebrand its image in tandem with the profound changes signaled by the Dengist reform. This chapter investigates critically how political press conference interpreting and interpreters' agency in China are impacted in relation to such dramatic transformations. It is revealed that, while interpreters are confronted with seemingly conflicting expectations, in actual practice they are often able to negotiate a way as highly competent interpreting professionals with the additional missions of advancing China's global engagement and safeguarding China's national interests.
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Orientalism.Clifford, James & Said, Edward W.
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