Translation/interpreting politics and praxis: The impact of political principles on babels' interpreting practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Focusing on Babels, an international network of volunteer translators and interpreters, this article provides an in-depth examination of the politics of organizing interpreting in the context of the Social Forum and the Alter-Globalization Movement, and discusses the extent to which interpreting is constitutive of the complex political process sparked by such initiatives. Babels' specifically activist, critical and self-reflective project of volunteer interpreting is examined as emerging and evolving out of a series of internal and external pressures. These pressures involve implementing the principles of horizontality, deliberation, participation and prefiguration that Babels calls for in the organizational process of the Social Forum, and delivering interpreting efficiently on the day of the event, while not undermining the professional market of conference interpreting. The article recommends approaching translation and interpreting from both a top-down and a bottom-up perspective - from principles to practice and from practice to principles - in order to better account for the ways in which translation and interpreting shape and are shaped by the geo-political and socio-economic contexts in which they are embedded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-290
Number of pages22
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Alter-Globalization movement
  • Babels
  • Horizontality
  • Participation
  • Politics of interpreting
  • World Social Forum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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