Translation: The Deprofessionalization of a Female-Dominated ‘Emerging Profession’

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Emma SEDDON, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
Translators work within the language industry, defined as the sector dedicated to facilitating written and oral multilingual communication. Translation plays a major role in the circulation of cultural and economic capital necessary in a globalized world. Translators are largely female (70%) and work on a freelance (74%), part-time (60%) basis. Translation work has been called an “emerging profession” by the European Commission, the largest employer of translators in the EU. Translators face threats from ‘non-professionals’ and the emergence of translation software and machine translation. But do translators fit into the category of ‘professional’ in the first place? Is this an occupation facing deprofessionalization before it has even earned the label of ‘profession’? This paper will use the theoretical framework of the assemblage to question the relevance of definitions of profession in researching translators as a (professional) group. It will then focus on how assemblage can provide a new theoretical angle to explore the impact of looming deprofessionalization and the female-dominated nature of the industry on the (professional) identities of translators.