elena davitti

Dr Elena Davitti


Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies
BA and MA (Bologna at Forlì), PhD (Manchester)
+44 (0)1483 689968
12 LC 03
Semester 1: Tuesdays 12-13 and Wednesdays 12-13

Biography

Areas of specialism

Communicative and interactional dynamics in Dialogue Interpreting; Multimodal analysis of interpreter-mediated interaction; Interpreting technologies; Video-mediated and mobile interpreting; Innovations in interpreter education

University roles and responsibilities

  • Programme Leader of MA Interpreting (Multilingual Pathway)
  • Programme Leader of MA Translation and Interpreting

My qualifications

PhD in Translation and Intercultural Studies
University of Manchester
MA in Conference Interpreting
University of Bologna at Forlì
BA in Liaison Interpreting and Translation
University of Bologna at Forlì

Affiliations and memberships

Member of A:IM (Interuniversity Centre for the Analysis of Interaction and Mediation), University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

My publications

Publications

Davitti E, Pasquandrea S (2014) Enhancing research-led interpreter education: an exploratory study in Applied Conversation Analysis, INTERPRETER AND TRANSLATOR TRAINER 8 (3) pp. 374-398 ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
In recent years, conversation analysts have developed a growing interest in the Applied branch of Conversation Analysis (CA). Authors such as Antaki, Heritage and Richards and Seedhouse have explored the practical applications of CA in institutional contexts, to shed light on their dynamics and to suggest improvements in the services provided. On the other hand, over the past two decades, interactionally oriented methodologies have been successfully applied to the study of interpreter-mediated interaction. Nevertheless, the potential of CA for interpreter training has not been fully explored, especially with regard to the impact of multimodal semiotic resources (gaze, gesture, posture) on triadic communication. This paper illustrates the results of an exploratory study in Applied CA conducted within a postgraduate interpreting module at an Italian university. Four different extracts of interpreter-mediated encounters, video-recorded in real-life settings, were submitted to the students in order to test their reactions, guide them in analysis and raise their awareness of the problems and challenges posed by real-life scenarios. Through the triangulation of findings from recorded classroom discussion and questionnaires, the present paper discusses the implications of using CA in interpreter education.
Olohan M, Davitti E (2015) Dynamics of Trusting in Translation Project Management Leaps of Faith and Balancing Acts, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography: a journal of ethnographic research
This paper examines the work of project managers in two UK-based
translation companies. Drawing on participant observation, interviews, and artifacts from field sites, our analysis focuses on the ways in which trust is developed and maintained in the relationships that project managers build, on the one hand, with the clients who commission them to undertake translation projects, and, on the other, with freelance translators who perform the translation work. The project manager?s ability both to confer and to instill trust is highlighted as key to the successful operation of the company. Conceptualizing trust as a dynamic process, we consider what this process of trusting entails in this context: positive expectations visà-vis the other parties; willingness to expose oneself to vulnerabilities; construction of bases for suspending doubts and uncertainties (leaps of faith). We observe the important role of communication and discursive strategies in building and maintaining trust and draw conclusions for translator education.
Davitti E (2013) Dialogue interpreting as intercultural mediation: Interpreters' use of upgrading moves in parent-teacher meetings, Interpreting 15 (2) pp. 168-199 John Benjamins
Research on dialogue interpreting shows that interpreters do not simply convey speech content, but also perform crucial coordinating and mediating functions. This descriptive study, which is based on PhD research conducted at the University of Manchester, explores the activity of qualified dialogue interpreters in three video-recorded parent-teacher meetings involving immigrant mothers. English and Italian are the languages used, the meetings having taken place in the UK (one case) and Italy (two cases). The study focuses on interpreters' handling of evaluative assessment, in many cases introduced by them in the target speech as an "upgrading rendition". Transcribed extracts are examined in a micro-analytical perspective, the dynamics of each actor's (dis)engagement towards interlocutors being studied in relation to gaze patterns annotated by dedicated software. Results show that the interpreter actively promotes alignment between the parties; however, s/he often does so by emphasising positive considerations to the mother. The outcome of this approach is that the mother accepts, but is not encouraged to co-construct a negotiated solution: she is assimilated, not empowered. © John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Davitti E (2015) Interpreter-mediated parent-teacher talk, In: Grujicic-Alatriste L (eds.), Linking Discourse Studies to Professional Practice 9 pp. 176-200 Multilingual Matters
This book examines how researchers of discourse analysis could best disseminate their work in real world settings. The chapters include studies on spoken and written discourse using various analysis techniques, and the authors discuss how they could best engage professional practice in their work. Techniques used include Conversation Analysis in combination with other methods, genre analysis in combination with other methods, and Critical Discourse Analysis. Contributions are loosely grouped by setting and include the following settings: workplace and business; education; private and public; and government and media. The volume aims to link the end of research and the onset of praxis by creating collaboration with the places of practice, helping analysts to move forward with ideas for dissemination, collaboration and even intervention. The book will be of interest to all researchers conducting discourse analysis in professional settings.
Davitti E, Pasquandrea S (2014) Dialogue Interpreting in Practice: Bridging the gap between empirical research and interpreter education, INTERPRETER AND TRANSLATOR TRAINER 8 (3) pp. 329-335 ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
Davitti E (2016) Dialogue Interpreting as a Multimodal Activity in Community Settings, In: Bonsignori V, Crawford Camiciottoli B (eds.), Multimodality Across Communicative Settings, Discourse Domains and Genres pp. 116-143 Cambridge Scholars Publishing
This volume focuses on multimodality in various communicative settings, with special attention to how non-verbal elements reinforce and add meaning to verbal expressions. The first part of the book explores issues related to the use of multimodal resources in educational interactions and English language classroom teaching, also involving learners with disabilities. The second part, on the other hand, investigates multimodality as a key component of communication that takes place in different specialized domains and genres. The book reflects a variety of methodological approaches that are grounded in both quantitative and qualitative techniques. These include multimodal discourse analysis, multimodal transcription, and multimodal annotation software capable of representing the interplay of different semiotic modes, such as speech, intonation, direction of gaze, facial expressions, gestures and spatial positioning of interlocutors.
In the last two decades, Dialogue Interpreting (DI) has been studied extensively through the lenses of discourse analysis and conversation analysis. As a result, DI has been recognised as an interactional communicative event, in which all the participants jointly and actively collaborate. Nevertheless, most of these studies focused merely on the verbal level of interaction, whereas its multimodal dimension has not received much attention so far, and the literature on this subject is still scarce and dispersed. By analysing and comparing two sequences, taken from a corpus of face-to-face interpreter-mediated encounters in pedagogical settings, this study aims at showing how multimodal analysis can contribute to a deeper understanding of the interactional dynamics of DI. In particular, the paper shows how participants employ multimodal resources (gaze, gesture, body position, proxemics, object manipulation) to co-construct different participation frameworks throughout the encounters, and how the ?ecology of action? (i.e., the relationships between the participants and the surrounding environment) influences the development of interaction.
Davitti E (2015) Gaze, In: Pöchhacker F, Grbic N, Mead P, Setton R (eds.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Interpreting Studies pp. 168-168 Routledge
The Routledge Encyclopedia of Interpreting Studies is the authoritative reference for anyone with an academic or professional interest in interpreting.

Drawing on the expertise of an international team of specialist contributors, this single-volume reference presents the state of the art in interpreting studies in a much more fine-grained matrix of entries than has ever been seen before.

For the first time all key issues and concepts in interpreting studies are brought together and covered systematically and in a structured and accessible format.

With all entries alphabetically arranged, extensively cross-referenced and including suggestions for further reading, this text combines clarity with scholarly accuracy and depth, defining and discussing key terms in context to ensure maximum understanding and ease of use.

Practical and unique, this Encyclopedia of Interpreting Studies presents a genuinely comprehensive overview of the fast growing and increasingly diverse field of interpreting studies.

Biagini M, Davitti E, Sandrelli A (2016) Participation in Interpreter-Mediated Interaction: Shifting along a multidimensional continuum, Journal of Pragmatics 107 pp. 87-90 Elsevier
Song translation has only recently become an area of interest for research purposes, with the development of studies on opera, films, folk music, cover songs, and more. Not many scholars have researched stage musicals, generally considered less prestigious and more commercial than opera. However, songs play a fundamental role in this type of performance, conveying meaning via verbal, audio and visual semiotic resources.

Although a few studies on lyrics translation in stage musicals can be identified, such as Low?s (2003, 2005) Pentathlon Approach and Franzon?s (2005) functional approach, they do not seem to focus on the interaction between modes that is typical of this genre. These models of translation offer valuable guidelines on how to treat the lyrics, but what is missing is a systematic and multimodal model of analysis that can be applied to the song in its entirety.

This research aims to develop a model of analysis that takes into account the complexity of songs. A new approach based on the identification of themes will allow for a more holistic view of the song and of its content.

The application of the model to a selection of musicals shows how verbal, audio and visual semiotic resources interact to create meaning, establishing relations of addition, enhancement and modification with each other.

The findings provide a clearer understanding of songs of stage musicals, opening up more possibilities for translators approaching this genre, and suggesting the value of a collaborative approach between translator, director and creative team in the adaptation of stage musicals.

Davitti E (2018) Methodological explorations of interpreter-mediated interaction: novel insights from multimodal analysis, Qualitative Research. Special Issue: Multimodality: Methodological Explorations SAGE Publications
Research in Dialogue Interpreting (DI) has traditionally drawn on qualitative analysis of verbal
behaviour to explore the complex dynamics of these ?triadic? exchanges. Less attention has been
paid to interpreter-mediated interaction as a situated, embodied activity where resources other
than talk (such as gaze, gestures, head and body movement, proxemics) play a central role in the
co-construction of the communicative event. This article argues that understanding the complexity
of DI requires careful investigation of the interplay between multiple interactional resources, i.e.
verbal in conjunction with visual, aural, embodied and spatial meaning-making resources. This call
for methodological innovation is strengthened by the emergence of video-mediated interpreting,
where interacting via screens without sharing the same physical space adds a further layer of
complexity to interactional dynamics. Drawing on authentic extracts from interpreter-mediated
interaction, both face-to-face and video-mediated, this article problematizes how the integration
of a multimodal perspective into qualitative investigation of interpreter-mediated interaction can
contribute to the advancement of our understanding of key interactional dynamics in DI and, in
turn, broaden the scope of multimodality to include new, uncharted territory.
Braun Sabine, Davitti Elena, Dicerto Sara (2018) Video-Mediated Interpreting in Legal Settings: Assessing the Implementation, In: Napier J, Skinner R, Braun Sabine (eds.), Here or there: research on interpreting via video link pp. 144-179 Gallaudet
This chapter reports the key findings of the European AVIDICUS 3 project,1 which focused on the use of video-mediated interpreting in legal settings across Europe. Whilst judicial and law enforcement authorities have turned to videoconferencing to minimise delays in legal proceedings, reduce costs and improve access to justice, research into the use of video links in legal proceedings has called for caution. Sossin and Yetnikoff (2007), for example, contend that the availability of financial resources for legal proceedings cannot be disentangled from the fairness of judicial decision-making. The Harvard Law School (2009: 1193) warns that, whilst the use of video links may eliminate delays, it may also reduce an individual?s ?opportunity to be heard in a meaningful manner?. In proceedings that involve an interpreter, procedural fairness and ?the opportunity to be heard in a meaningful manner? are closely linked to the quality of the interpretation. The use of video links in interpreter-mediated proceedings therefore requires a videoconferencing solution that provides optimal support for interpreting as a crucial prerequisite for achieving the ultimate goal, i.e. fairness of justice.
Against this backdrop, the main aim of AVIDICUS 3 was to identify institutional processes and practices of implementing and using video links in legal proceedings and to assess them in terms of how they accommodate and support bilingual communication mediated through an interpreter. The focus was on spoken-language interpreting. The project examined 12 European jurisdictions (Belgium, Croatia, England and Wales, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Scotland, Spain and Sweden). An ethnographic approach was adopted to identify relevant practices, including site visits, in-depth and mostly in-situ interviews with over 100 representatives from different stakeholder groups, observations of real-life proceedings, and the analysis of a number of policy documents produced in the justice sector.
The chapter summarises and systematises the findings from the jurisdictions included in this study. The assessment focuses on the use of videoconferencing in both national and cross-border proceedings, and covers different applications of videoconferencing in the legal system, including its use for links between courts and remote participants (e.g. witnesses, defendants in prison) and its use to access interpreters who work offsite (see Braun 2015; Skinner, Napier & Braun in this volume).
Davitti Elena, Pasquandrea Sergio (2018) Integrating authentic data in dialogue interpreting education: A teaching unit proposal, inTRAlinea. Special Issue: Translation And Interpreting for Language Learners Department of Interpreting and Translation (DIT) of the University of Bologna, Italy
In the last two decades, empirical research has shed light on the interactional dynamics of Dialogue Interpreting (DI). Nevertheless, it
remains unclear how the results of such research can be effectively integrated in interpreter education. This paper outlines a semester long
module, in which research on DI is employed for teaching purposes. During the module, students are introduced to relevant
literature and exposed to different case studies of interpreter-mediated interaction, based on authentic data. The aim is to create an
understanding of the interpreter ?s role and conduct in a variety of communicative situations, and help students identify the challenges
that may arise in interpreter-mediated interaction. Implications for current codes of conduct are also discussed.