The profession and Status of Translators and Interpreters

Over the past two decades, researchers have been showing considerable interest in translation as a profession, and in the status of translators as a whole. International research in the field presents the problematic nature of this occupation and the work conditions experienced by translators: Translation is seen as a semi-professional occupation, negligible, a low-status, non-prestigious field of work associated with the service industry and invisible to many. Researchers have pointed at the roots of the preconceived notion of translators as an invisible, silent figure: roots that are imbedded, among others, in translation theory and history and in the establishment of the relationship between translation and origin—intellectual property, copyright, professional ethics. The study of these professions emphasizes certain qualities (such as training, certification, monitoring, rates, work conditions, role definitions, code of ethics, professional unionization) which the trade acquires and through which it becomes a profession. Alongside these studies, there are those who research semi-professional occupations and non-established professions such as translation and interpretation, in which monetary gains are relatively low, and investment is mainly focused on other forms of capital—namely symbolic—acquired in part through discourse conducted by and among the agents about themselves, their work, and their profession. How translators position themselves, what capital they have at their disposal, how they struggle to attain it, what are their cultural resources—all of these questions sit at the core of contemporary study concerning translation as a profession and the status of translators.