Reconstructing the origins of the Spanish booth in the European Union: A process of professionalization

Angélica PAJARÍN CANALES

Abstract


The history of conference interpreting is closely linked to the contemporary history of international organizations and institutions. The contributions to the history of interpreting in the twentieth century, particularly those corresponding to its defining moments, have documented the origins and evolution of the profession of conference interpreters in multilingual communication settings. However, even if the increasing interest in historical and sociological research in Translation and Interpreting Studies have enriched our understanding of translation and interpreting as social practices, we still know very little about important methodological issues such as how to describe professional developments in the dynamics of social change, how to avoid linear and transparent reconstructions of social practices and socio-historical processes or how to pay attention to the dynamics of agents and institutions that sustain or limit the processes of professionalization.

This paper focuses on the question of professionalization in conference interpreting through the specific case of the emergence of a professional group in an institutional setting, namely the Spanish interpreting booth in the European Union. The present study is part of a larger historical, sociological and ethnographic project on which the author has been working for many years. We are interested in studying the convergence of historical and political processes in the contemporary history of Spain. For this purpose, we will first provide a historical overview of the study, and then we will present the steps taken to collect the quantitative, qualitative, ethnographic and documentary data on which the research is based. We will also discuss the concepts and choices underlying the delicate nature of the sociological work. The findings will be analysed and discussed according to Bourdieu’s sociology and the sociology of professions.

 

Keywords


interpreting in international organisations; pioneer Spanish booth in the European Union; sociological research; sociology of professions; Bourdieu; interpreting history

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14201/clina2018413964

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