Information economics, the translation profession and translator certification

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Universitat Rovira i Virgili


Information economics, information asymmetry, signaling, counter-signaling, signal jamming, professional translators, translation market, translator certification, licensing, professional associations, professionalization, translator training


This research uses the framework of information economics to analyze the translation profession and translator certification. The translation market is found to be heterogeneous and fragmented and both buyers and sellers frequently enter and exit the market. The recruiters seeking translators surveyed believe translator certification can enhance the overall image of the translation profession but increased monetary benefits might be minimal. There are two reasons why currently translator certification systems do not function effectively as a signal. First, because of "counter-signaling", high-quality translators may have less incentive to use certification because signaling behavior may mark them down as mediocre translators. Second, due to "signal-jamming", vocational master's degrees in Translation are likely to compete with translator certification as a signaling device, and employers find it difficult to make inference about job applicants' employability from these two credentials. As recommendations, professional translator associations, translator training institutions and others need to collaborate in developing multilateral signaling devices as well as provide translators with the required knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for them to thrive in the ever-changing translation market.



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Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Spain), 2008.

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Recommended Citation

Chan, A. L. J. (2008). Information economics, the translation profession and translator certification (Doctoral dissertation). Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10803/8772