Translation and trust: a case study of how translation was experienced by foreign nationals resident in Japan for the 2011 great east Japan earthquake
Cadwell, Patrick (2015) Translation and trust: a case study of how translation was experienced by foreign nationals resident in Japan for the 2011 great east Japan earthquake. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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This thesis examines translation and interpreting in a particular context: the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Motivated by the researcher’s experience of being resident in Tokyo when the disaster struck, a study was carried out to better understand translation and interpreting in this context using the case of foreign residents who experienced the disaster. A constructivist philosophical approach and the academic traditions of ethnography were adopted when designing the case study, and face-to-face, individual interviews with 28 participants from 12 nationalities (Irish, Dutch, French, German, Sudanese, Tunisian, Chinese, Bangladeshi, American, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealander) made up its core primary data. The diverse linguistic and demographic profiles of these participants provided access to multiple perspectives on the objects of enquiry. These perspectives were then analysed over six phases of thematic analysis to describe and explain how foreign residents communicated and gathered information, how translation and interpreting formed part of these activities, and why any of this was important. The analysis suggested that the objects of enquiry can best be understood as written and oral interlingual and intercultural transfer, dominated by the Japanese-English language pair, carried out mostly by volunteers known to the user, to create products that were not always received as translations, but that were valorised when seen to produce timely information of adequate quality. It also suggested that a lack of sufficient resources and a strongly culturally-bound space of interaction created problems for translation and interpreting. Furthermore, the analysis revealed that trust was a significant category in these data. For this reason, a socio-cognitive model of trust was selected and applied to the data to describe and explain the role that translation and interpreting played in some foreign residents’ decisions to trust and to argue for the importance of these phenomena to the existence of trust in this and other disasters.
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