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Cross-cultural Pragmatic Failures in Business Interpretation

Author: YuYan
Tutor: HongGang
School: Zhejiang Normal University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: business interpretation pragmatic failure pragmatic competence cross-cultural awareness
CLC: H313
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2013
Downloads: 306
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Interpretation is an activity of cross-cultural communication. As a newly-emerging cross-cultural subject, it has attracted more and more attention from linguists. With the rapid development of the world economy, the role of business interpretation is becoming increasingly crucial. However, the research on interpretation has long been confined to the study of language and interpretation skills. The cultural and pragmatic factors in interpretation are often neglected. Pragmatics is a newly-emerging discipline of linguistics as well as a perspective of research. Pragmatic failure is a new research subfield of pragmatics. Put forward by Jenny Thomas in her article Cross-cultural Pragmatic Failure in1983, it is the inability to understand what is meant by what is said. In business interpretation, interpreters tend to make a variety of pragmatic failures for lack of cross-cultural awareness and pragmatic competence, which may lead to cross-cultural communication breakdown and even failure in business negotiation. Therefore, the study of cross-cultural pragmatic failures in business interpretation deserves our full attention.This thesis probes into the pragmatic failures in business interpretation and their causes as well. The innovative point of this thesis is that the business interpretation research is carried out from the interdisciplinary perspective of pragmatics, with the aim to reduce pragmatic failures in business interpretation and improve the quality of business interpretation, and thus facilitate the successful communication of cross-cultural business negotiation. The thesis consists of five parts. Chapter one is the general introduction to the whole research. Chapter two presents the literature review of relevant theories concerning pragmatic failures and business interpretation. Jenny Thomas’s theory of pragmatic failure and its classification are explained in this chapter. Chapter three is the main body of the thesis. In this chapter, firstly the research methodology is introduced, and then types of pragmalinguistic failures and sociopragmatic failures in business interpretation are classified and exemplified. Thirdly, causes of pragmatic failures in business interpretation are explored. Chapter four presents tentative strategies for reducing pragmatic failures and improving business interpretation performance. And finally Chapter five is the conclusion of the thesis. By analyzing the pragmatic failures in business interpretation and their causes, the author draws the conclusion that——A qualified interpreter must have excellent linguistic competence, cross-cultural awareness and pragmatic competence. Apart from linguistic competence and interpretation skills, interpreter training should also focus on the development of interpreters’ cross-cultural awareness and pragmatic competence. All in all, reducing pragmatic failures in business interpretation and improving interpretation performance play a crucial role in cross-cultural business activities.

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