The concept of the interpersonal in translation
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Original versionSYNAPS - A Journal of Professional Communication 23(2009) pp.15-27
Analysis from the perspective of Hallidayan (systemic functional) linguistics became popular in translation studies in the 1990s, though most work concentrated on the textual function and, to a lesser degree, the ideational function. This paper suggests greater importance be placed on Halliday’s interpersonal function which is crucial for the writer-reader relationship and, consequently, for investigating the intervention of the translator. The particular focus is on recent monolingual work in the area of evaluation/appraisal theory (Martin and White 2005) and on the deictic positioning of writer/reader as expressed in pronoun choice and naming. Detailed examples are discussed from government documents and sensitive political propaganda (from Hugo Chávez and Barack Obama), leading to the suggestion, for future research, that there are certain key risk points which are most sensitive to intervention from the translator.