Festschrift in Honour of Christina Schäffner
Miriam Shlesinger / Tanya Voinova, Ramat Gan: Self-Perception of Female Translators and Interpreters in Israel
Miriam Shlesinger / Tanya Voinova Ramat Gan Self-Perception of Female Translators and Interpreters in Israel1 1 Introduction This paper was written in the context of a research project on the self-perception of translators and interpreters in Israel and on the ways in which they claim sta- tus by building their “occupational selves” (Sela-Sheffy & Shlesinger 2008) in a highly dynamic cultural community, with a language of limited diffusion as its main medium of communication. Our focal point was the translators and inter- preters themselves, in line with the current surge of research interest in the per- sona of the individual practitioner (Sela-Sheffy 2000; Inghilleri 2005; Chester- man 2006; Pym 2006; Merkle 2008; Dam & Zethsen 2009); more specifically, we were interested in the female translators and interpreters (FTIs) and the man- ner in which gender and profession intersected in shaping their representation of self. Traditionally, translators and interpreters have been a relatively invisible occupational group—a “transparent medium of textual procedures” (Sela-Sheffy 2005:2)—and their trade has been seen as a marginal professional option. This status is also reflected in the narratives of practitioners, which complement the pervasive view of translation as an ontologically derivative and intrinsically in- ferior occupation (Venuti 1995; Bassnett 1996) and of translators as minor, aux- iliary manpower in the text-production industry, as “servants” of a higher au- thority and as belonging “behind the scenes” (Jänis 1996; Simeoni 1998; Venuti 1998). Translators are thus “not as aware as they might be of their own power” (Chesterman...
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