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Cognitive load in processing ELF: Translators, interpreters, and other multilinguals

Kognitive Belastung bei der Verarbeitung von ELF-Input: Übersetzende, Dolmetschende und andere Mehrsprachige
Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow, Michaela Albl-Mikasa, Katrin Andermatt, Andrea Hunziker Heeb and Caroline Lehr

Abstract

Many factors can affect the translation and interpreting process, but the quality of source texts has been explicitly identified as an issue in surveys of professional translators and interpreters as well as in recent workplace studies. If translators and interpreters encounter resistance in carrying out their tasks, for example by difficulties in extracting meaning from non-native English input, then flow can be interrupted and performance affected. In this paper, we explore how English as a lingua franca (ELF) input could potentially increase the cognitive load not only for translators and interpreters but also for other multilinguals. We describe the range of methods that can be used to measure the cognitive effort and stress associated with processing ELF input and explain the challenges that can be encountered when researchers are committed to using authentic ELF material to make comparisons under relatively controlled but ecologically valid conditions. One of the driving motivators for this type of research is to understand how interpreters and translators deploy their expertise to deal with ELF input in work settings in order to draw inferences about strategies for other segments of the population.

Zusammenfassung

Dolmetsch- und Übersetzungsprozesse werden von einer ganzen Reihe von Faktoren beeinflusst. Der Ausgangstextqualität kommt dabei ein besonderer Stellenwert zu, wie sich in Umfragen unter professionellen Dolmetschenden und Übersetzenden sowie in jüngsten Arbeitsplatzstudien erwiesen hat. Wenn Dolmetschende und Übersetzende auf Widerstände bei der Ausübung ihrer Tätigkeit stossen, beispielsweise durch Schwierigkeiten bei der Bedeutungserschliessung im Fall von nichtmuttersprachlichem englischen Input, kann es zu Störungen im Verarbeitungsfluss und einer erschwerten Translationsleistung kommen. Im vorliegenden Artikel wird der Frage nachgegangen, inwieweit ELF zu erhöhter kognitiver Belastung für Dolmetschende und Übersetzende, aber auch für andere Mehrsprachige führen kann. Es werden darin die verschiedenen Methoden zur Messung von kognitivem Aufwand und Stress, die mit der Verarbeitung von ELF-Input einhergehen, beschrieben. Weiterhin wird aufgezeigt, auf welche Herausforderungen Forschende beim Einsatz authentischen ELF-Materials stossen, wenn sie Vergleiche unter relativ kontrollierten und zugleich ökologisch validen Bedingungen anstellen wollen.


Corresponding author: Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow, Institute of Translation and Interpreting, ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Theaterstrasse 15c, CH-8401Winterthur, Switzerland, E-mail:

Funding source: Swiss National Science Foundationhttp://www.snf.ch/en/

Award Identifier / Grant number: CRSII5_173694

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Published Online: 2020-12-03
Published in Print: 2020-09-25

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