Towards understanding interpreter trainees’ (de)motivation: An exploratory study


  • Zhiwei Wu Guangdong University of Foreign Studies


motivation, demotivation, interpreter training, pedagogy


This paper reports on an exploratory study on profiling interpreter trainees’ (de)motivation in a Chinese context. Reflective essays were collected from 40 postgraduate trainees, and questionnaires were administered to 120 undergraduate and postgraduate trainees. Based on the data collected, this paper examines the interrelation among the Criterion Factors (Motivation and Demotivation), the Internal Factors (Ideal Self, Instrumentality and Avoidance), and the External Factors (Teaching Methods, Perceived Supports and Perceived Competence). The study shows that (1) although generally high in motivation, interpreter trainees are susceptible to demotivation; (2) trainees’ Ideal Self (future self-guide) is a better motivator than Instrumentality and Avoidance; (3) factors leading to trainee demotivation could be categorized into four groups: self-, peer-, teacher-, and institute-attributed, and Teacher Factor is the most frequently cited demotivating factor by trainees. Informed by these findings, the paper proposes an expanded research agenda on motivation in interpreting studies and highlights two new measures to encourage and sustain trainee motivation.