The main aim of this paper is to report on an online questionnaire which focused on translator and interpreter perception of their working world, their mindset or weltanshaung, and the impact of Translation studies and university training on that world. Though translation has been practiced for millennia (Chesterman and Wagner 2002, Palumbo 2009: 1), and is possibly the “second oldest profession” (Baer and Koby 2003: viii), “the academicization” (Baker 2008: xiv) of the practice only began within living memory. And with academicization has come the (academic) view that the practitioners no longer ply a trade as “secondary, mechanical scribe[s]”, but that they are “crosscultural professional[s]” thanks to the revolution of the functionalist theory (Gentzler 2001: 71). They are now “highly professional translators who belong to the same ‘world’ as their clients, who are focused on professionalism and making a good living, and who are highly trained...” (Baker and Chesterman (2008: 22). Mona Baker’s comment, above, is actually part of a narrative which exhorts translators to go beyond mere professionalism and to take responsibility for the fact that “Intervention is inherent in the act of translation and interpreting” (ibid: 16). There are also a number of dissenting voices, which either point to the academic distance from reality (e.g. Milton 2001), to a trend towards deprofessionalisation (e.g. Pym 2005), to the translator’s ‘voluntary servitude’ (Simione 1998: 23), to quality downturn due to lowest-bid market economics (e.g. Muzii 2006) or to the competition from IT (e.g. Biau Gil and Pym 2006). Also, while Sela-Sheffey (2008: 2) laments the lack of research or findings regarding translator status, she does suggest that “all evidence shows that they are usually regarded as minor, auxiliary manpower”.
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