Translators who own it: A case study on how doxa and psychological ownership impact translators’ engagement and job satisfaction


  • Esther Monzó-Nebot Universitat Jaume I, Spain



Institutional translation, intergovernmental organizations, psychological ownership, job satisfaction, translation doxa, interactional power, workplace studies.


This paper explores the job satisfaction of translators working for an international intergovernmental organization. The extant literature on translators’ job satisfaction has explored a number of constructs. Based on developments in the field of organizational theory and the complexity of translation as a job, it is argued that psychological ownership may prove an adequate framework to explain translators’ job satisfaction and instrumental in establishing a dialogue between the various analyses of different workplaces in the field of translation and interpreting studies. The study focuses on a specific multilingual intergovernmental organization and draws on the interviews of 17 Spanish-native translators of different nationalities. Their feelings of ownership are analyzed and variations in how they relate to constructs of psychological ownership —feelings of control, intimacy of knowledge, and self-investment— become apparent. Exploring patterns shows those variations to be related to translators’ differing translation doxas, that is, their divergent, competing, and sometimes conflicting understanding of what translation is and should be. Furthermore, relationships between psychological ownership, translation doxa, and translators’ efforts to advance their own doxas in the organization are examined with a view towards creating means to engage professional translators in advancing a doxa shaped by and for translators across workplaces.