The translators' personae: Marketing translateral images as pursuit of capital

Rakefet Sela-Sheffy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines the collective self-images of Israeli literary translators, assuming that their desired idealized personae are no less effective than their actual performances in regulating the "rules of the game" in their field. In view of translators' popular image of 'invisibility' and 'submissiveness,' my argument is that translators are compelled to make intensive use of self-promotional discourse in their endeavor to establish their profession as a distinctive source of cultural capital. The present analysis is based on around 250 profile articles and interviews, reviews, surveys of translators and other reports in the printed media from the early 1980s through 2004. Three main self-images emerge from this self-presentational discourse: (1) The translator as a custodian of language culture; (2) The translator as an ambassador of foreign cultures and an innovator, and (3) The translator as an artist in his/her own right.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-622
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


  • Literary translators
  • Self-presentation
  • Self-promotional discourse
  • Symbolic capital
  • Translators' self-images


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