Psychological capital and well-being in the translation professions

Hubscher-Davidson, Severine (2021). Psychological capital and well-being in the translation professions. In: 7th IATIS Conference, 14-17 Sep 2021, Barcelona, Spain.



The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) published in 2016 aimed to create a people-centred and aspirational development agenda. Of particular relevance to the T&I professions, are the third and eighth SDG goals which promote well-being and decent work, alongside economic growth. Wellbeing has thus become an essential part of professional life, and translators and interpreters are increasingly encouraged to look after their physical and mental health. This is no easy task, however, in today’s competitive business environment where occupational stressors are rife. To maintain their psychological health, linguists need to be able to draw on—and optimize—their personal resources, a process problematized in terms of psychological capital in the organizational literature (Luthans, Youssef, and Avolio 2015). Indeed, linguists’ psychological state has recently been viewed as a kind of ‘capital’ that can lead to successful performance and competitive advantage in the workplace (Hubscher-Davidson 2020). In addition to the traditional use of the word ‘capital’ in economics and finance, the term ‘psychological capital’ is used here to represent the value of human resources alongside other concepts such as intellectual, social, and cultural capital. Psychological capital is relevant for a variety of work-related aspects, and could be a powerful tool affecting linguists in the workplace. In this presentation I will (1) introduce and define psychological capital, (2) summarise existing research in this area, and (3) draw on examples from the published writings of professional translators during the Coronavirus pandemic, to illustrate the value of this concept for the sustainability of the translation profession.

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