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Interpretation Acts in Iranian-Japanese ELF Interaction: A Visual Ethnographic Approach

Dr. Hiromasa Tanaka,

Department of International Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Meisei University, Tokyo, Japan

Translation and interpretation have traditionally been regarded as professional performances, demanding a high level of linguistic and cultural competency. However, the recent proliferation of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) and the development of translation software have transformed interpretation into socially constructed acts, emerging from specific situational needs. Individuals with superior language skills may serve as interpreters in such cases, even without possessing exceptionally high language competency. These interpretation acts can be multi-modal and function-oriented, primarily focused on accomplishing the task at hand. This presentation reports on ongoing research concerning interpretation acts involving Iranian and Japanese interlocutors. The study aims to analyze video-recorded, naturally occurring data in which an Iranian individual interprets another Iranian artisan’s talk into English for a Japanese artist. The analysis highlights the participants’ utilization of multiple sources, including eye-contact, body movements, and actual painting materials, to compensate for their limited linguistic resources. Furthermore, the presenter discusses the value of visual ethnography as an approach to understanding multi-modal interpretation acts, particularly when linguistic resources are insufficient, providing insight into how meaning is constructed in such contexts.

Keywords: Iranian-Japanese Intercultural Communication, Interpretation, Visual Ethnography, Multi-Modality, English as a Lingua Franca

The above abstract is a part of the article which was accepted at The Ninth International Conference on Languages, Linguistics, Translation and Literature (WWW.LLLD.IR), 1-2 February 2024, Ahwaz.