Translation and interpreting are forms of linguistic mediation that involve rendering written or oral text from one language to another. As language-based activities that have practical implications, they are often seen as falling within the remit of applied linguistics. Following a brief introduction and historical survey of the ﬁeld, this chapter focuses on some of the main issues that have interested both translation scholars and applied linguists in recent years. It does not engage with the use of translation in language teaching (for an authoritative overview of this issue, see Cook 2009). Increased globalization, growing mobility of people and commodities, and the spread and
intensity of armed conﬂicts in recent years have established translation and interpreting more ﬁrmly in the public consciousness. As both facilitators and beneﬁciaries of increased global interconnectedness, translators and interpreters have become important economic players in the services sector worldwide, with surveys forecasting an average annual business growth of 5-7.5 per cent between 2005 and 2010 (CSA 2004; EUATC 2005) and the global translation industry turnover expected to exceed €12 billion in 2010 (ABI 2002). Recent comparable reports on the interpreting industry estimate the global outsourced interpreting market at $2.5 billion, $700 million of which is generated by the burgeoning ﬁeld of telephone interpreting (CSA 2008). At the same time, translators and interpreters have become more widely recognized as important political players, with their involvement in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan in particular receiving widespread media attention. Economic clout and political impact aside, the growing pervasiveness of translation and
interpreting in all domains of private and public life has also heightened the need for a better understanding of their social relevance. Against the backdrop of the growing dominance of English as a lingua franca, translation and interpreting have become central to promoting cultural and linguistic diversity in the information society and in the development of multilingual content in global media networks and the audiovisual marketplace. They have also become central to the delivery of institutional agendas in a wide range of settings, from supranational organizations to judicial and healthcare services at community level. The importance of translation and interpreting as tools of empowerment is further evident in the
emergence of new forms of intersemiotic assistive mediation; these include subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and audio description for the blind, both of which aim to facilitate access to information and entertainment for sensory-impaired members of the community.