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Durham University

Chinese Studies

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Publication details for Dr Binghan Zheng

2017 (co-authored with Pan, Feng) 'Gender Difference of Hedging in Interpreting for Chinese Government Press Conferences: A Corpus-based Study', Across Languages and Cultures 18, pp. 171-193

Author(s) from Durham


This paper aims to examine gender differences in hedging in Chinese–English conference interpreting based on a transcribed parallel corpus. The point of departure was to test Holmes’s (1986, 1988a) claims that women do not necessarily employ more hedges than men but that women’s use of hedges tends to focus more on interpersonal relationships while men’s is more on propositional precision. Hyland’s (1996a, 1996b) model in which hedges were categorized into accuracy-oriented, speaker-oriented and audience-oriented, has been adapted for this end. Our finding shows that male interpreters actually employ more hedges than their female counterparts on the whole. In particular, their accuracy-oriented and speaker-oriented hedges exceed those of female interpreters, but not for audience-oriented ones. To find out whether these differences were caused by the source texts per se or by interpreters’ manipulation, we named four types of interpreting approach towards hedge items: direct transfer, indirect transfer, shift and addition. The former two types were identified as source text interference while the latter two as interpreters’ manipulation. The results indicate that male interpreters exceed female interpreters in terms of shift and addition cases in all three types of hedges. The findings of the present study contribute to a more profound understanding of gender difference in language mediation and also have implications for future interpreter training.