Manusya, Journal of Humanities


Yangwon Hyun

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The significance of interpreter-mediated intercultural business interactions between Koreans and Thais has increased dramatically with the advent of globalization and the emergence of Translation Studies, yet there have been very few attempts to carry out research on acts of interpreting in that context. This study aims to investigate how two Asian professional interpreters deal with conflict situations in interpreter-mediated intercultural business communication contexts. It also analyzes motivations underlying the ways in which they managed conflict. The data was collected by ethnographic observation and interviews, and recorded in field-notes. By using a pragmatic approach to interpretation, the findings show that the two Asian professional interpreters used three rapport-oriented strategies for managing conflicts: replacing original utterances with mitigating expressions, avoiding interpreting rapport-sensitive utterances, and adding positive remarks. Their main motivation for choosing these strategies was to maintain harmonious relationships between the primary interlocutors, in some cases also including non-participant third parties. These findings clearly show that the professional Asian interpreters went beyond the task of conveying what one primary interlocutor wanted to say to another. Through active and deliberate revisions, omissions or additions to interpretations, they firstly upheld harmonious interpersonal relationships, then transferred information from one speaker to another. The empirical results are discussed with regards to Buddhism in Thailand and Confucianism in South Korea.

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