A symbolic interactionist approach to interpreter's identity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Downloads (Pure)


A lacuna in interpreting studies pertains to what constitutes an interpreter’s identities in social and sociopsychological contexts and how they operate influencing the interpreter’s decision-making and behaviour at interpreting-facilitated events. In this research, two key symbolic interactionism frameworks, structural symbolic interactionism (SSI) and perceptual control theory, are drawn on to formulate a symbolic interactionist model of interpreter’s identity management (SIMIIM) with a view to investigating higher socio-structural and individual psychological influence on an interpreter’s identity management. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) of a professional public service interpreter’s perceptions of her lived experience of interpreting and the sense of self is undertaken to illustrate the key elements of the model. Issues around the contentions between moral identity and professional identity, social and communicative factors challenging the interpreter’s identity management and impacts of identity nonverification on the interpreter’s wellbeing are discussed. Introducing symbolic interactionism to interpreting studies for the first time, it is hoped that this research will encourage further efforts to explore an interpreter’s identity management at social and individual levels, which is key to an informed understanding of the interpreter’s behaviour and of the issues of interpreting ethics in public service interpreting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInterpreting and Society - An Interdisciplinary Journal
Early online date18 Jul 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jul 2022


  • symbolic interactionism
  • identity (non)verification
  • moral identity
  • professional identity
  • interpreting ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics


Dive into the research topics of 'A symbolic interactionist approach to interpreter's identity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this