PhD Student

Last application date
Aug 23, 2021 00:00
LW22 - Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication
Limited duration
Master’s degree in Interpreting Studies; Master's Degree in Multilingual Communication; or Master's Degree in Linguistics
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

The Ghent University Research Centre MULTIPLES and EQTIS seek to recruit a PhD student to work on a project titled "Facework and multimodality. A comparative study of on-site interpreting and video-remote interpreting". The research is situated in the domain of Interpreting Studies. The aim of this project is to investigate the role of multimodality in face-work in public service interpreting by comparing on-site and video-remote interpreting.

Short summary of the research project. When translating the speech of interlocutors who have no access to each other's language, interpreters never act as mere ‘machines’ transferring the message automatically. Instead, they take up an active role in the joint construction of meaning and the interpersonal interaction. In conducting this type of interpersonal work, public image or face is of key importance. Interpreters may omit, mitigate or strengthen face-threats (e.g. requests, verbal aggression, mockery) or face-boosts (e.g. praise, compliments) directed at the primary participants or at the interpreter him/herself. In doing this kind of face-work, both verbal and non-verbal behavior (gestures, posture, mimics, eye-contact, gaze) is essential. But how do interpreters deal with this when interlocutors’ visual cues are not or less directly accessible, as is the case in remote interpreting?

In this research project we analyse the ways in which multimodality contributes to face-work in dialogue interpreting settings. In order to assess the full impact of multimodality in the management of face in dialogue Interpreting, we compare on-site interpreting and video-remote interpreting. First, we map what type of verbal and non-verbal face-work interpreters resort to when dealing with face-threats/face-boosts. Next, we compare how interpreters deal with face-work when having full access (on-site interpreting) or a reduced access to visual cues (video-remote interpreting), which have proven essential for contact-making and rapport-building, coordination of turns and comprehension. Finally, we gauge the interpreters’ views on dealing with face-threats/face-boosts in both interpreting modalities (on-site and video-remote interpreting) and analyse how this interrelates with their professional role. The results will contribute to theory building on multimodal aspects of facework in dialogue interpreting and provide ample scope also for informing interpreters' practice.

The research particularly focuses on (i) the discursive level of the interpreted encounter (e.g. do interpreters use mitigating / reinforcing strategies, omissions), (ii) the interactional level (e.g. how do meta-comments or reported speech use modify participation frameworks) and (iii) the professional identity (e.g. reflections on codes of conduct).

For this study, we rely on authentic video-recordings of interpreter-mediated interaction, as well as on experimental data and interviews with interpreters.

Job profile

- Collecting and analyzing data
- Writing a dissertation based on the research project
- Preparing individual and joint publications for national and international scientific journals
- Presenting your research at national and international conferences
- Assisting occasionally in the teaching activities at the department

- Master’s degree in Interpreting Studies obtained with good grades before the start of the project. Quick learners with a Master’s degree in Multilingual Communication or in Linguistics are also invited to candidate;
- Fluent in Dutch and English; additional knowledge of (one or more) other languages, in particular Spanish or Russian, is a plus;
- Good academic skills in English;
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills;
- Ability to work independently on your research as well as to work in a team;
- Knowledge of public service interpreting in Flanders is a plus.

- We offer you a two-year appointment (1+1), which may be renewed once for two years (4 years in total), on condition that the previous term was given a positive evaluation.
- The position is available from 1 October 2021, but the starting date is negotiable up to 1 December 2021.

How to apply

Applications can be submitted either in Dutch or English. Candidates are invited to apply by submitting by e-mail to July De Wilde ( and Jelena Vranjes ( by 23 August 2021 the following documents:

1) A single pdf-document with:
- a letter of application
- a CV (including an overview of the applicant’s study results and the contact details of one person we may contact for a reference)
- a copy of the required Master’s degree
- a personal piece of (scientific) writing in the form of a student paper or publication (e.g. Master thesis or article) in English or Dutch, demonstrating your academic skills (if you want to join a personal piece in another language, please contact July De Wilde and Jelena Vranjes).

Based on these documents, candidates will be selected for an interview (video-conference interviews can be conducted for applicants living or working abroad).
As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof July De Wilde and dr Jelena Vranjes: