Lingua franca, interpreting (ELF)

Authored by: Michaela Albl-Mikasa

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 global spread of English as lingua franca (ELF) has impacted interpreting in far-reaching ways. With an estimated two billion people, a third of the world’s population, now using English (Potter and Crystal 2016) – of which only 372 million, or one-fifth, are native speakers (Simons and Fennig 2017) – it is important to examine ELF in its own right rather than as deviation from the Standard English (SE) norm. At the same time, the claim that ELF use is “functionally appropriate and effective” (Seidlhofer 2011:120) is inconsistent with the reality reported by professional interpreters and translators.

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