In the Limelight? Interpreters’ Visibility in Transborder Interpreting


  • Aleksandra Nuč University of Maribor
  • Sonja Pöllabauer University of Vienna



public service interpreting, humanitarian interpreting, visual analysis, interpreter agency, visibility


This paper explores photographs that were taken along the Austrian and Slovene border between 2015 and 2018 as ethnographic records of a specific field of interpreting. The photographs show interpreters who helped bridge communication barriers in situations when the mass displacement of refugees from the Middle East resulted in an increased demand for interpreters for a range of languages that had previously not been as sought after. The photographs come from a corpus of pictures and accompanying texts that were compiled through a picture search in digital media. Drawing on the constructs of (in)visibility and bodily semiotics, a set of chosen examples is analysed qualitatively, using a visually oriented approach to examine interpreters’ positionality and agency in transborder humanitarian interpreting. The results suggest a high degree of interactional agency and visibility, but less social visibility.


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How to Cite

Nuč, A., & Pöllabauer, S. (2021). In the Limelight? Interpreters’ Visibility in Transborder Interpreting. ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, 18(1), 37–54.