Audience design in interpreted press conferences (Chinese-English) : face management and information management
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The aim of this study is to investigate the potential influence of audience design on interpreters’ behaviour in the genre of interpreted government press conferences. The interpreters of these government press conferences are required to follow the principle of ‘faithfulness, accuracy and completeness’ but casual observation suggests that the interpreters do depart from this principle. The hypothesis on which the present study is founded is that audience design, that is the adjustment of a speaker’s output to suit a particular participation framework, is involved in interpreters’ performance. In order to test this hypothesis, the theoretical framework of the study draws upon theories from interpreting studies, sociolinguistics and pragmatics. The investigation is carried out through a study of participation frameworks, face management strategies and information management strategies in an authentic corpus constructed by the author, comprising three interpreted and televised press conferences held by the Chinese Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are chosen to analyze the selected parameters in order that recurrent patterns can be identified. The study confirms the hypothesis that the interpreters’ behaviour varies in accordance with the particular audience (i.e. the primary intended receiver) that they have in mind to serve at any given moment. This study shows that human factors are involved and challenges the public perception that interpreters are mere sounding machines with little or no personal agency.