Aarhus University Seal

Panel 5. English as a lingua franca (ELF), translation, and interpreting

The global spread of the use of English as a lingua franca (ELF) has obvious repercussions on translation and interpreting. While international contacts in the 20th century were predominantly established and maintained by means of translation and interpreting, the 21st century is marked by an overwhelming use of ELF. The challenge is not that interpreters and translators are made redundant, but that the number of source texts and source speeches produced in nonnative English is growing exponentially. While ELF has been widely discussed in applied linguistics generally, its impact on translation and interpreting has not received the same attention. The proposed panel looks at the academic study of ELF in relation to translation and interpreting. This young subdiscipline of ITELF (Interpreting, Translation and English as a Lingua Franca) combines research into ELF with interpreting and translation studies and investigates the consequences of the growing importance of ELF for the translation and interpreting professions and for individual translators and interpreters. While the first ever panel in the field had concentrated on ELF and interpreting (organized by Michaela Albl-Mikasa and Karin Reithofer at the 7th EST Congress 2013 in Germersheim), the first colloquium to bring together ELF scholars as well as researchers from interpreting and translation studies (convened by Michaela Albl-Mikasa and Anna Mauranen with Juliane House and Claudio Bendazzoli as presenters) was held at the ELF6 Conference in Athens, September 2014.

In continuation of these efforts, the focus of this thematic session is ELF, interpreting, and translation in a rather broad sense, that is, the exploration of the latest developments in theory, teaching, and practice and the discussion of the as yet relatively small number of empirical studies that have been conducted so far.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • The wider (socio-economic) impact on the profession in terms of market developments
  • The immediate effects on cognitive processing (difficulties, decisions, strategies, performance)
  • ELF-geared professional development and competence building
  • ELF pedagogy in translator and interpreter training
  • Changing perceptions and attitudes regarding the translator’s/interpreter’s status, role, and selfconcept
  • ELF-related developments in the EU (e.g., the introduction of an editing unit by the DG Translation)
  • Successful ELF communication: differences in translator/interpreter-mediated and non-mediated
    communication and in notions such as ‘communicative success’, ‘mutual understanding’, ‘speaker
    satisfaction’, ‘languaging requirements’
  • The directionality issue (ELF - English B)
  • English as a pivot language and consequences for relay interpreting


  • Name(s) of convener(s): Michaela Albl-Mikasa, Claudio Bendazzoli, Juliane House
  • Affiliation: ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, University of Torino, Italy, University of Hamburg, Germany/Hellenic American University, Greece
  • Email address: michaela.albl-mikasa@zhaw.ch