Publication details [#18499]

Setton, Robin and Alice Liangliang Guo. 2009. Attitudes to role, status and professional identity in interpreters and translators with Chinese in Shanghai and Taipei. Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS) 4 (2) : 210–238.


This article reports the findings of a survey, the first of its kind, on patterns of professional practice, self-perceptions, job satisfaction and aspirations of translators and interpreters in Shanghai and Taipei and their perceptions of their role and contribution at a time when English and Chinese look set to become the languages of the twenty-first century. In terms of professional identity, most respondents choose the generic term 翻译 fanyi (‘translation’) to describe their main occupation, with slightly more specification among interpreters (as 口译 kouyi, ‘interpreter’). Only a small minority are members of professional associations. Job satisfaction is high, particularly among interpreters, who enjoy higher status. Views about training, testing and certification are mixed. Attitudes to loyalty, neutrality, toning-down and other role-related norms appear to be close to the international professional consensus, pending future contrastive studies; most respondents express a down-to-earth attitude to their role and contribution to society, downplaying ‘cultural mediation.’ [Based on abstract in journal]