Joanna Ziobro – Local cognitive load

This is a short summary of a presentation given at the Second International Conference on Quality in Interpreting, in Almuñecar, Spain 2010. The summary my own perception of the presentation and any mistakes in the summary are of course due to my misunderstanding.

Joanna Ziobro (University of Rzeszowski, Poland) talked about feasibility of empirical research in simultaneous interpreting. She took her theoretical starting point in Gile’s Effort Models and his tight rope hypothesis. (Wonderful illustration of the Effort Model by the way with wine glasses, I would like to make them into communicating vessels though). She also added an additional effort which I liked the effort of suppressing thoughts that don’t have anything to do with interpreting (we’ll baptise it Ziobro’s effort?). I liked it as a professional since I have experienced exactly that. There are of course wonderful moments when you go into flow, but there are other painful moments like when you realise you forgot your child at the day care center or suchlike.

In her experiment she compares the performance of first and second year students and investigates local cognitive load through error analysis. Supposedly failure in the processing is due to local overload. She also let students report in retrospective interviews (with recording as prompt), where she could see that depending on personality some students reported a lot and others considerably less.

So far, she reports that novices (1st year students) omitted more, even whole segments, whereas semi professionals (2nd year students) aimed to render everything, but the novices interpretation included fewer errors, maybe more time to reflect on correct interpretation of the sentence.

Luckily she concluded that although there are methodological challenges in empirical research in simultaneous interpreting it is feasible.

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Jan-Hendrik Opdenhoff – Better into B?

This is a short summary of a presentation given at the Second International Conference on Quality in Interpreting, in Almuñecar, Spain 2010. The summary my own perception of the presentation and any mistakes in the summary are of course due to my misunderstanding.

Jan-Hendrik Opdenhoff (University of Granada, Spain) reported on a web-survey of interpreters own perception of their performance into their B-language. He found that 55 % of the participants in his study found that they were better working into their A-language and 36 % were as pleased with working into their A-language as their B-language. The preference for direction did not correlate with interpreting training or the length of the stay in the B-language country. Except for interpreters who reported longer stays in the B-language country before the age of 15, for this group they were more at ease working into their B. There was also a difference in language pairs, some language pairs reported more ease working into their B-languages.

Another important factor is the listeners’ mother tongue. If your listeners are mother tongue speakers of your B-language then the listeners’ satisfaction becomes more important.

Referring to Gile’s quote that the perception of quality not the same among interpreters, listeners and researchers, Opdenhoff added that the interpreters’ perception of quality is the same as they expect their listeners’ perception of quality to be.

Aymil Doğan – check list for awareness of metacognition

This is a short summary of a presentation given at the Second International Conference on Quality in Interpreting, in Almuñecar, Spain 2010. The summary my own perception of the presentation and any mistakes in the summary are of course due to my misunderstanding.

Aymil Doğan (Hacettepe Üniversites, Turkey) talked about a check-list she had created to help students become aware of their metacognition when interpreting. Metacognition is what you do when you think about or reflect on your thinking. Through a pilot study with 25 students she came up with categories such as stamina, stress, accuracy, self-monitoring, anticipation etc, etc. Later she tested the result of her checklist by comparing interpreting students and other students (of translation with notions of interpreting) awareness of the metacognition.

Anne-Birgitta Nilsen – Interpreting for young children

This is a short summary of a presentation given at the Second International Conference on Quality in Interpreting, in Almuñecar, Spain 2010. The summary my own perception of the presentation and any mistakes in the summary are of course due to my misunderstanding.

Anne-Brigitta Nilsen (University of Oslo, Norway) talked about about quality in interpreting for very young children (age 3-7). She started exploring this because she had found that some interpreters are reluctant to interpret for young children. They are reluctant because they believe that children do not understand turntaking and the role of the interpreter, and you cannot interrupt a young child because then they will loose track. Her study comprised only four children from the age of six and a half to three, but the results were clear children of that age both understand turntaking and the role of the interpreter. It is also possible to interrupt them. She concluded that interpreting for children, same as interpreting for adults, and that quality in interpreting in general becomes more salient when studying children and particularly young children. A comment for the audience pointed out that maybe you adapt the way you interpret when you interpret for young children e.g. use of first person, register, simplistic language and so forth.

Impressions from the second international conference on quality in interpreting

If you have been following my twitter feed you see that I have been active during the conference :-). Most of the sessions I have been to has been very interesting. As usual there is always some frustration of colliding sessions, but unfortunately you cannot have it all. Almuñecar is an idyllic little town by the sea and the sun is shining and the orange flowers blossoming so it could be worse (maybe even better if I had the time to enjoy all that).

I’m pleased with my own presentation, at least it generated some interesting discussions. Clearly I will have to continue working on how to assess my material, since it did not really work out as I expected in the first place. But that’s the way it is.

Daniel Gile – Enhancing research in interpreting

This is a short summary of a presentation given at the Second International Conference on Quality in Interpreting, in Almuñecar, Spain 2010. The summary my own perception of the presentation and any mistakes in the summary are of course due to my misunderstanding.

Daniel Gile (Université Paris 3, France) talked about institutional and social issues in research in interpreting. He presented an interesting overview of PhD theses in conference interpreting defended the past 40 years. From the seventies until today the number of defended theses dealing with conference interpreting per decade went from 7 to 45 (beautiful development but depressingly low, still… and I dare not think of the figures for community interpreting or sign language interpreting). He pointed out that there seems to be a strong psycho-social motivation behind the PhD work, committing to a PhD thesis is taking on a long-term engagement and something that is promoted through the atmosphere in the professional environment. One possible reason for an increase of the number of PhD theses that comes out of certain universities may be the leading researchers active there. Without the psycho-social motivation you are more vulnerable when it comes to getting institutional motivation and support. Since the interpreting training is practical, unless there is a strong conviction from teachers there is no familiarization with theory. Another important issue is the competition between teaching and practice. A good market creates less time and incentives for students or practitioners to go into research.