Methods in translation history - getting at language use through dictionaries produced for interpreters


There has been a certain amount of work linking lexicography and translating/interpreting studies (Dancette 2004; Mackintosh 2006; Min and Wang 2009) and Henri van Hoof has proffered several historical sketches of the emergences of dictionaries for interpreters (Hoof 1994; Hoof 1995). There is however still a largely underexploited field considering dictionaries produced for interpreters as a source on their linguistic practice and the representation of their task. This paper will examine dictionaries produced for military interpreters during the First World War, on the Western Front (such as: PLUMON 1914; Croydon 1915) but also in the Balkans (for example: Ministère de la Guerre 1915; Plumon 1916). The first step will have to be a meticulous comparison of these different dictionaries to see how they are organized and what kind of content they contain. We must then consider how they differ from the guidebooks and dictionaries produced for ordinary soldiers serving on linguistically diverse fronts, thus discerning the specificity of the interpreter’s task, or at least its representation by the editors. In a final step, it is these authors and their editorial structures we must investigate in order to understand how both commercial editors and official military bodies perceived interpreters linguistic needs.

Apr 23, 2010
Translation Studies Moving In – Moving On.
University of Eastern Finland
Franziska Heimburger
Franziska Heimburger
Senior Lecturer in British History

My research interests include 19th and 20th century cultural history of military conflicts and language policy in military coalitions.