Effects of different fiset-person pronouns and politeness sentence-ending particles in English-to-Thai consecutives interpretation : a case study / Thornwarat Laojariyakun
With various first-person pronouns to choose from, interpreters who render English into Thai language sometimes find themselves struggling to determine the most suitable pronoun, especially when they and their speakers are of the opposite sex. This is because the limitations of each pronoun concerning genders of word and the level of formality. Conducted in Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School (LCBD), this pilot case study explored whether different first-person pronouns as well as presence and absence of politeness sentence-ending particles, a characteristic of Thai language, affected Thai users’ preference in consecutive interpreting from English into Thai. Three experiments in cooking demonstration classes were conducted. Each was interpreted by a female interpreter using different pairings of first-person pronouns and politeness sentence-ending particles, followed by questionnaires and interviews of selected participants. The result was that the audience was indeed affected by different choices of pronouns. The gender-neutral casual-to-formal-register occupational pronoun /ʃef/ was highly preferred, while the gender-specific /phǒm/ and the hyper-formal /khâaphacâw/ were deemed less suitable, respectively. One of the most prominent reasons was that the usages of the less-preferred pronouns deviate from the norms of communication in Thai, whether the clash of genders between that of the interpreter and and the words spoken or the hyper-formality. The participants generally did not regard the absence of politeness sentence-ending particles as significant since it was not interpreted as impoliteness and the particles did not seem to serve any semantic purposes.