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Chinese interpreting studies: structural determinants of MA students’ career choices

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During the last 30 years, the growth of the interpreting industry in China has been outstanding. Increasing economic and political collaboration has driven the demand for interpreters to bridge the linguistic and cultural divides that exist between China and the West. With the creation of master’s and bachelor’s degrees in interpreting and translation all over China, hundreds of graduates from various universities have since undertaken distinctly different career paths. Using an exhaustive corpus of Masters’ theses and a combination of logistic regression and Targeted Maximum Likelihood Estimation to establish causalities, this paper focuses on some of the structural determinants of graduate students’ career choices. The paper examines to what extent university affiliations, thesis advisors, research methodology and thesis content influence the choice to pursue an academic career. The research reveals that graduating from a top university makes students less likely to become academics, and studying under a top advisor does not necessarily increase an individual’s chances of securing an academic post. By contrast, writers of empirical theses or ones that are about training are more likely to enter the academic sphere.

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    For the sake of authenticity, no editing was made to the English titles created by the original authors.

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    It came as something of a surprise to find that a large number of theses had no specific research question: many gave historical overviews of the field, or a meta-analysis of existing literature. In such cases, the title was taken to represent the most succinct description of the central theme of the thesis.


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The authors wish to thank Ewan Parkinson for patiently reviewing multiple versions of this paper and for generously providing detailed suggestions on improving its quality.

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Correspondence to Ziyun Xu.

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Xu, Z., Archambault, É. Chinese interpreting studies: structural determinants of MA students’ career choices. Scientometrics 105, 1041–1058 (2015).

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  • Scientometrics
  • Chinese interpreting studies
  • Targeted maximum likelihood estimation
  • MA theses
  • Career choices
  • Causal inference