Attention-Sharing Initiative of Multimodal Processing in Simultaneous Interpreting

Attention-Sharing Initiative of Multimodal Processing in Simultaneous Interpreting

Tianyun Li, Bicheng Fan
DOI: 10.4018/IJTIAL.20200701.oa4
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This study sets out to describe simultaneous interpreters' attention-sharing initiatives when exposed under input from both videotaped speech recording and real-time transcriptions. Separation of mental energy in acquiring visual input accords with the human brain's statistic optimization principle where the same property of an object is presented through diverse fashions. In examining professional interpreters' initiatives, the authors invited five professional English-Chinese conference interpreters to simultaneously interpret a videotaped speech with real-time captions generated by speech recognition engine while meanwhile monitoring their eye movements. The results indicate the professional interpreters' preferences in referring to visually presented captions along with the speaker's facial expressions, where low-frequency words, proper names, and numbers gained greater attention than words with higher frequency. This phenomenon might be explained by the working memory theory in which the central executive enables redundancy gains retrieved from dual-channel information.
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Problem Triggers And Processing Latency

Throughout a simultaneous interpreting assignment, an interpreter will inevitably encounter several stumbling blocks, for example, weak signal, an accented speaker and poor booth conditions. These elements are referred to as “problem triggers”, which increases the interpreter’s processing capacity in language comprehension or/and rendition production (Gile, 2009). A number of studies indicated the factors hindering the interpreter from an ideal rendition (Albl-mikasa, 2010; Cheung, 2013; Han & Riazi, 2017; I. H. I. Lin et al., 2013). Based on Gile’s conceptual framework, Mankauskienė (2016, pp. 145–146) presented a structured list looking into the definition of “problem trigger” in simultaneous interpreting. According to this classified structure, problem triggers that may appear during an interpreting assignment are concluded into four general categories: 1) an increase in processing capacity requirement; 2) signal vulnerability; 3) language-specified related problems; and 4) the speaker factor (see Table 1).

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