Cynthia J. Kellett Bidoli (Ed.). Interpreting across genres: Multiple research perspectivesINTP


Chia-chien Chang
Linguistics and Language / Language and Linguistics


Interpreting 16:2 (2014), 261–265. doi 10.1075/intp.16.2.06cha issn 1384–6647 / e-issn 1569–982X © John Benjamins Publishing Company

Book Reviews

Cynthia J. Kellett Bidoli (Ed.). Interpreting across genres: Multiple research perspectives. Trieste: Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2012. 261 pp.

ISBN 978-88-8303-365-0. Available at: dspace/handle/10077/7369

Reviewed by Chia-chien Chang

As communication facilitators, interpreters have to deal with many different types of communicative interaction, making the study of speech genres all the more relevant: of particular importance in managing the demands of each genre is awareness not only of its communicative purpose but also of related structures, styles and content, as well as of the intended audience (Swales 1990).

Such is the starting point for this collection of eleven papers edited by Cynthia

Jane Kellett Bidoli. As explained by the editor in her introductory chapter, the book originated from a seminar entitled Interpreting Scenarios with English at the 2010 Conference of the European Society for the Study of English (ESSE).

Consistent with the scope of the seminar, the aim of this volume is to combine the topics of interpreting research, the role of English in global communication, and genre. All eleven contributions thus involve language combinations which include

English, though this does not mean that the focus on specificities of communication in English is necessarily a dominant feature of most papers. What really distinguishes the book as a whole from other publications in interpreting studies is its focus on examples of the different genres encountered by interpreters.

With genre as the center of attention, the various authors explore the features typically associated with different communication events involving interpreters.

This means that, where appropriate, different modes of interpreting are in some cases discussed within one and the same study. For example, contrary to the traditional research divide that associates simultaneous interpreting (SI) with monologic communication in conferences and (short) consecutive interpreting (CI) with bidirectional communication in a dialogue setting, interpreting in media scenarios may involve both the simultaneous and consecutive modes for dialogic interaction. Focusing on genre can therefore provide a different perspective, especially for studying new interpreting settings.

The volume encompasses an impressive range of interpreting scenarios, including media, medical, business, political, literary, diplomatic and legal settings.

In the first three papers, the focus is on media interpreting (television interpreting in the first two, football press conferences in the third). 262 Book Reviews

Both of the contributions on television interpreting tap into the extensive

Italian Television Interpreting Corpus (CorIT), which covers almost 50 years of interpretations broadcast on Italian television and has generated an impressive number of studies. In the first of these contributions, on “Repetition in dialogue interpreting”, the late Francesco Straniero Sergio uses a conversation analysis approach to examine repetition in successive turns (as opposed to repetition within the same turn) during SI- and CI-mediated Italian talkshows. In many instances, interpretations from English introduced exact repetition, repetition with variation and semantic repetition of small segments featured in the previous turn of the Italian speaker; the interpreters’ introduction of these repetitions reflected their efforts to establish cohesion and coherence between turns, and to strengthen the topical continuity between questions and answers. The author concludes that these repetitions are comprehension-, production- and interaction-oriented.

Eugenia Dal Fovo’s article “Question/answer topical coherence in television interpreting” also draws on CorIT. In this case the focus is on a televised debate between US presidential candidates in the 2004 election campaign, broadcast on two Italian television networks with SI by their respective interpreters. The researcher first identifies the various types of questions and answers present in the source texts, before analyzing to what extent the cohesion and coherence of different question/answer combinations are present in the interpretations. Although no overall contrastive analysis of topical coherence in the originals and the interpretations is presented, as the work discussed in the article is essentially a pilot study focusing only on the latter, readers are given some insight into the complex process of exploiting bilingual corpora.

In “Interpreting football press conferences”, Annalisa Sandrelli introduces another unique corpus, FOOTIE (Football in Europe): this consists of pre-match and post-match press conferences, interpreted simultaneously during the 2008

European football championships. The rituality of these conferences makes them ideally suited to a genre-based approach. By identifying each successive turn as a separate speech event, including floor allocation, opening/closing remarks, procedure and housekeeping announcements, questions, answers and comments, the author highlights the strategic decisions taken by the interpreters in meeting the challenges posed by the practically non-stop rhythm of the resulting exchanges.

Letizia Cirillo’s contribution, entitled “Managing affective communication in triadic exchanges”, looks at interpreter-mediated interactions between migrant patients and Italian healthcare providers. By analyzing interpreters’ zero-renditions and non-renditions, the author demonstrates how affective initiatives by healthcare providers may be blocked as a result of the interpreter’s tendency to promote the institutional mission and image.

Book Reviews 263

Another article relevant to medical and related settings is Clara Pignataro’s “Terminology and interpreting in LSP conferences”, which addresses an important aspect of the interpreter’s preparation for the specific terminological requirements of these conferences. In search of a better, more efficient way to compile glossaries for highly technical conferences, the author made use of the WordSmith Tools programme to extract complex noun phrases from 25 veterinary texts prepared for oral presentation at a conference and made available to the interpreters beforehand. The noun phrases were listed in alphabetical order. Another list of terms was compiled from the texts manually, and the two lists were compared. Although there was no major difference, and Wordsmith Tools can accelerate terminological research for interpreters well versed in its use, the author tentatively suggests that the manually compiled list might prove more easily memorizable and retrievable on account of the underlying conceptual structure with which it is associated.