Voices of the Invisible Presence

Diplomatic interpreters in post-World War II Japan

Kumiko Torikai | Rikkyo University
ISBN 9789027224279 | EUR 85.00 | USD 128.00
ISBN 9789027290021 | EUR 85.00 | USD 128.00
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Voices of the Invisible Presence: Diplomatic interpreters in post-World War II Japan examines the role and the making of interpreters, in the social, political and economic context of postwar Japan, using oral history as a method. The primary questions addressed are what kind of people became interpreters in post-WWII Japan, how they perceived their role as interpreters, and what kind of role they actually played in foreign relations. In search of answers to these questions, the living memories of five prominent interpreters were collected, in the form of life-story interviews, which were then categorized based on Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of ‘habitus’, ‘field’ and ‘practice’. The experiences of pioneering simultaneous interpreters are analyzed as case studies drawing on Erving Goffman’s ‘participation framework’ and the notion of kurogo in Kabuki theatre, leading to the discussion of (in)visibility of interpreters and their perception of language, culture and communication.

[Benjamins Translation Library, 83] 2009.  x, 197 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“The book is well worth reading as an informative and very interesting account.”
“[...] the book offers much that is of interest to researchers, professionals interpreters and students of interpreting. It contains a wealth of new, detailed information concerning the history of interpreting in particulair. The bibliography is extensive and reflects the breadth of the author's investigation of the subject. Voices of the Invisible Presence is a valuable contributions to research in this field.”
“Adopting oral history as a historiographic method in interpreting studies, this vivid account of the life stories of five post-war pioneers of the profession greatly enriches our understanding of interpreters and of their role in a unique historical and socio-cultural context.”
“In an outstanding work, Torikai offers the reader a unique look at the living memories of five pioneer interpreters of post World War II Japan and sheds light on the fascinating role they played. Through careful analysis of oral history and the examination of the Interpreter Interpersonal Role Inventory Torikai compares and contrasts interpreters’ perceptions of their role to their own narratives as she uncovers the kind of people that became interpreters, their perceptions of their own roles, and the materialization of that role in Japanese diplomacy. Written in a clear and accessible language this book will engage interpreter educators and students, as well as practicing interpreters, linguists, historians and experts in Cross-cultural Communication.”
“This is a study of remarkable originality. It provides precious insights into the professional lives of an extraordinary group of Japanese diplomatic interpreters. Combining careful scholarship with the sensitivity of a practitioner, Kumiko Torikai casts new light on the chiaroscuro world of the professional interpreter.”
Cited by

Cited by 39 other publications

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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 16 april 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Communication Studies

Communication Studies

Translation & Interpreting Studies

Translation Studies

Main BIC Subject

CFP: Translation & interpretation

Main BISAC Subject

LAN023000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Translating & Interpreting
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2008045266 | Marc record