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Claudia V. Angelelli
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Claudia V. Angelelli

Chair, Multilingualism and Communication
Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies
Intercultural Research Center & Center for Translation and Interpreting Studies in Scotland
School of Management and Languages
Heriot-Watt University, UK

Minding the Gaps: Applied Linguistics and Translation & Interpreting Studies


Translation and interpreting (T&I) are areas of inquiry supported by substantial scholarship. Although they have been described as “the world’s second oldest professions,” the scholarly study of translation and interpreting is fairly recent. Only in the last thirty years have anecdotal and largely prescriptive writings on translation and interpreting given way to empirical research and descriptive studies. Recently, the scholarly study of T&I has expanded at a rapid pace. This development is evident in the increasing number of university programs, specialized journals, conferences, scholarly associations, and publishing houses. Translation and interpreting is an interdisciplinary endeavor. Its interplay with applied linguistics, however, is incipient. Although we have seen projects that bring together applied linguists and T&I scholars, the gap between these two fields still exists and offers many opportunities for cross-fertilization.

In today’s societies, linguistic and cultural diversity permeates every thread of human interaction. Communication in general, and inter-linguistic/cultural communication in particular, is perceived, valued, and understood differently by peoples across space and time. In addition, goals, ideas, or messages are not immune to the interplay of social factors (e.g., ethnicity, age, gender, and socio-economic status) to which T&I add a layer of complexities.

For applied linguists concerned with issues of language, access, linguistic minorities, and interaction, the field of T&I opens possibilities to explore many areas such as T&I as a situated practice, the characteristics of communication between speakers of societal and non-societal languages, the nature of language transfer, the processes and products of high-level development of two languages, or the effects of instruction on the development of non-societal languages and its measurement. To that end, in this presentation we will explore interdisciplinary T&I projects in healthcare, law and education that have resulted from crossing boundaries, yielding important empirical data.

Claudia V. Angelelli is Professor and Chair of Multilingualism and Communication at Heriot-Watt University, UK and Professor Emerita of Spanish Linguistics at San Diego State University, US. Her research lies at the intersection of sociolinguistics, applied linguistics and translation and interpreting studies. She is the author of Medical Interpreting and Cross-cultural Communication (Cambridge University Press 2004), and Revisiting the Role of the Interpreter (John Benjamins 2004) and the co-editor of Researching Translation and Interpreting (Routledge 2015 c/ed.) and Testing and Assessment in Translation and Interpreting Studies (John Benjamins 2009 c/ed.). She is the Guest Editor of special issues of The International Journal of the Sociology of Language (Translators and Interpreters: Geographic Displacement and Linguistic Consequences 2011), Translation and Interpreting Studies (The Sociological Turn in Translation and Interpreting 2010 & Translation and Interpreting Pedagogy 2015 co/ed) and Cuadernos de ALDEEU (Minding the Gaps: Translation and Interpreting Studies in Academia 2013). Her work appears in The Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, The Critical Link, Cuadernos de ALDEEU; Interpreting, META, MONTI (Monografias de Traducción e Interpretación), The Translator, TIS (Translation and Interpreting Studies), The International Journal of the Sociology of Language and numerous edited volumes. She designed the first empirically-driven language proficiency and interpreter readiness tests for The California Endowment and Hablamos Juntos (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). Prof. Angelelli is the President of the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association and she has served as Director of The Consortium of Distinguished Language Centers and the American Translators Association. She is the World Project Leader for ISO Standards on Community Interpreting recently approved as the first ISO standard on language interpreting.
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