Conversation analysis

Authored by: Federico Zanettin

Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies

Print publication date:  October  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138933330
eBook ISBN: 9781315678627
Adobe ISBN:


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The services required of interpreters in institutional settings include not only the rendition of other speakers’ talk but also active agency in promoting participation in the interaction. Conversation analysis (CA) provides tools for analyzing the resources which are drawn upon in structuring participatory frameworks (Goffman 1981:124–159) and in accomplishing interpreters’ participation and effectiveness of service in multiparty interactions. CA focuses on spoken language as the most potent tool of social action and on the mechanisms that regulate conversation as they are used to accomplish social goals, providing insights into how interpreters contribute to the construction of participants’ roles and identities by negotiating conversational rights, managing coordination and promoting participation. CA also offers useful explanatory resources for looking at the linguistic behaviour of participants during encounters in multicultural contexts where non-professional interpreting is involved.

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