[New publication] Interpreting: Volume 21, No. 1, 2019

Interpreting: 21 (1)

Link to this issue: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/jbp/intp/2019/00000021/00000001

Negotiating interpersonal relations in Chinese-English diplomatic interpreting, by Rongbo Fu and Jing Chen

Abstract: This paper investigates the negotiation of interpersonal relations by interpreters in Chinese government press conferences – a major instrument for the promotion of public diplomacy in China. Drawing on the theory of linguistic modality in systemic functional grammar (SFG) and the concept of explicitation (Englund Dimitrova 1993), we present a corpus-based discourse analysis of interpreters’ explicitation of modality and connect it to their participation in negotiating interpersonal relations in such a setting. Quantitative results indicate a noticeable trend of explicit use of modal expressions in target speeches in both interpreting modes, i.e., consecutive and simultaneous. Data from qualitative analysis illustrate the various explicitations that manifest interpersonal relations on different levels between interactants on the scene. We conclude by underlining the role of government press conference interpreters as active co-participants in public diplomatic settings, discussing the contributions of this work to empirical research on interpreters’ agency and its limitations, and suggesting new directions towards which further research might be carried out.

Accuracy in telephone interpreting and on-site interpreting, by Jihong Wang ad Jing Fang

Abstract: Although telephone interpreting is widely used in many countries, very little is known about the quality of telephone interpreting performance in social service settings. This paper reports on the findings of an exploratory study investigating the quality of a professional Mandarin/English interpreter’s consecutive interpreting performance in one on-site interpreting task and two telephone interpreting tasks. All three tasks are simulations of authentic situations. This article has two aims. The primary aim is to compare the accuracy of the interpreting performance in on-site and telephone interpreting by using a meaning unit-based quality assessment framework. The secondary aim is to use a Conversation-Analysis-based micro-analytical approach to explore the nature of accurate interpretations (e.g. strategic additions, strategic omissions) and problematic interpretations (e.g. unjustifiable omissions, unjustifiable distortions), especially examining the motivations for these interpretations, the extent to which they are indicative of interpreting difficulties, and their impact on the triadic communication. A key finding is that the interpreter’s performance was highly accurate in all three interpreting tasks. The micro-analytical approach has served to identify possible reasons for the interpreter’s accurate and inaccurate interpretations.

A corpus for signed language interpreting research, by Ella Wehrmeyer

Abstract: Because of the visual nature of signed language, the compilation of a signed language interpreting corpus along the lines of spoken-language interpreting corpora has been viewed as extremely challenging, if not impossible. This study offers a unique contribution in the construction of a lemmatized, annotated text-based corpus of signed language media interpretations, which allows analysis of interesting features using readily-available concordance software. In this article, characteristics of original (not interpreted) signed language corpora are explored in terms of metadata conventions, transcription and annotation, in order to provide a framework for an interpreting corpus. Within this framework, the decisions and steps taken in the construction of the interpreting corpus are discussed and explained.

“A beautiful woman sitting in the dark”, by Carmen Delgado Luchner

Abstract: This ethnographic study of the Master’s in Conference Interpreting at the University of Nairobi aims to link interpreter training to the linguistic make-up of Kenyan society and the constraints of public higher education in Africa. It is the first comprehensive study of interpreter training in Kenya, and shows the limits of replicating pedagogical approaches that have been tried and tested in Europe in a different environment. Based on the findings, I recommend a widening of the scope of training to include conference, court and community interpreting. It is argued that this would improve the sustainability and relevance of interpreter training in Africa.

Investigating the presumed cognitive advantage of aspiring interpreters, by Alexandera Rosiers, Evy Woumans, Woulter Duyck and June Eyckmans

Abstract: In complex tasks such as interpreting, the importance of a well-functioning working memory can hardly be overestimated. However, empirical studies have failed to produce consistent results with regard to an interpreter advantage in working memory. Recent studies tend to focus on the executive component of working memory. To our knowledge, no such study has compared the possible cognitive advantage of aspiring interpreters relative to other multilinguals before training takes place, in spite of the fact that excellent cognitive abilities are considered important in many interpreter selection procedures. In this study, we compared the working memory capacity and executive functions of a group of 20 student interpreters with two other groups of advanced language users who were all at the start of their Master’s training. Data were collected on three executive control functions: inhibition, shifting and updating. A forward and a backward digit span task for measuring the participants’ working memory capacity was also included in this study. Results revealed only negligible differences between the three groups at onset of training. The presumed cognitive advantage of aspiring interpreters with regard to executive control was not found.

Feedback in conference interpreter education, by Lara Domínguez Araújo

Abstract: Feedback is a key part of the teaching and learning process in conference interpreter education. However, there is little research on how feedback should be performed in order to promote learning, or on what trainers and trainees think of its role. This paper, based on a larger PhD research project, seeks to fill this gap by reporting on perceptions and practices in three postgraduate conference interpreter training programs. Data were collected from trainers and trainees through individual interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires, complemented by direct observation of lessons. Content analysis was used to identify points of divergence and convergence between the views of trainers and trainees regarding the usefulness of feedback, preferred practices, and the difficulty of providing feedback. Main findings include that feedback should be honest, concise, and meaningful for the trainees, and provide an analysis of the problems encountered as well as recommend specific strategies for overcoming them.