Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton June 13, 2016

Directionality and context effects in word translation tasks performed by conference interpreters

Agnieszka Chmiel

Abstract

Professional interpreters employed by international institutions usually work into their L1 from their L2, while freelance interpreters tend to work both into and from their L1. A study was devised to see if the long-term interpreting unidirectional practice (in the L2–L1 direction only), in contrast to bidirectional practice (in the L2–L1 and L1–L2 direction), influences the speed of lexical retrieval manifested through shorter translation latencies. Forty-eight professional conference interpreters produced oral translations of nouns presented in isolation, in high context constraint sentences and in low context constraint sentences. Contrary to predictions, unidirectional interpreters did not manifest directionality asymmetry and their L2–L1 translation latencies were not shorter than L1–L2 translation latencies. Surprisingly, the L2–L1 direction advantage was found in the group of bidirectional interpreters. The data suggest that the dominant directionality in interpreting practice has little impact on the strength of interlingual lexical links in the interpreter’s mental lexicon or that other factors (such as language use, exposure and immersion) might offset any such impact. The study also revealed an expected context effect, which shows that interpreters use semantic constraint to anticipate sentence-final words.


Agnieszka Chmiel Faculty of English Adam Mickiewicz University Collegium Novum al. Niepodległości 4 61-874 Poznań Poland

References

AIIC. 2014. “Regulation governing admissions and language classification”. Available at <http://aiic.net/page/6726>. Last accessed 06 Aug 2015.Search in Google Scholar

Altarriba, J., J.F. Kroll, A. Sholl and K. Rayner. 1996. “The influence of lexical and conceptual constraints on reading mixed-language sentences: Evidence from eye fixations and naming times”. Memory and Cognition 24(4). 477–492.Search in Google Scholar

Baayen, R.H., D.J. Davidson and D.M. Bates. 2008. “Mixed-effects modeling with crossed random effects for subjects and items”. Journal of Memory and Language 59(4). 390–412.Search in Google Scholar

Barr, D.J., R. Levy, C. Scheepers and H.J. Tily. 2013. “Random effects structure for confirmatory hypothesis testing: Keep it maximal”. Journal of Memory and Language 68(3). 255–278.Search in Google Scholar

Bartłomiejczyk, M. 2006. “Strategies of simultaneous interpreting and directionality”. Interpreting 8(2). 149–174.Search in Google Scholar

Bates, D. 2007. “Linear mixed model implementation in lme4”. (Unpublished manuscript, University of Wisconsin-Madison.)Search in Google Scholar

Chang, C. 2005. Directionality in Chinese/English simultaneous interpreting: Impact on performance and strategy use. (PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Austin.)Search in Google Scholar

Chernov, G.V. 1992. “Conference interpretation in the USSR: History, theory, new frontiers”. Meta 37(1). 149–162.Search in Google Scholar

Chernov, G.V. 2004. Inference and anticipation in simultaneous interpreting: A probability-prediction model. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Search in Google Scholar

Chmiel, A. In preparation. “The influence of interpreter training on working memory and the bilingual mental lexicon”.Search in Google Scholar

Christoffels, I.K., A.M.B. de Groot and J. Kroll. 2006. “Memory and language skills in simultaneous interpreters: The role of expertise and language proficiency”. Journal of Memory and Language 54(3). 324–345.Search in Google Scholar

Christoffels, I.K., A.M.B. de Groot and L.J. Waldorp. 2003. “Basic skills in a complex task: A graphical model relating memory and lexical retrieval to simultaneous interpreting”. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 6(3). 201–211.Search in Google Scholar

de Bot, K. 2000. “Simultaneous interpreting as language production”. In: Englund Dimitrova, B. and K. Hyltenstam (eds.), Language processing and simultaneous interpreting: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 65–88.Search in Google Scholar

de Groot, A.M.B. and I.K. Christoffels. 2006. “Language control in bilinguals: Monolingual tasks and simultaneous interpreting”. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 9 (2). 189–201.Search in Google Scholar

de Groot, A.M.B., L. Dannenburg and J.G. van Hell. 1994. “Forward and backward word translation by bilinguals”. Journal of Memory and Language 33 (5). 600–629.Search in Google Scholar

de Groot, A.M.B. and R. Poot. 1997. “Word translation at three levels of proficiency in a second language: The ubiquitous involvement of conceptual memory”. Language Learning 47. 215–264.Search in Google Scholar

Denissenko, J. 1989. “Communicative and interpretative linguistics”. In: Gran, L. and J. Dodds (eds.), The theoretical and practical aspects of teaching conference interpretation. Udine: Campanotto. 155–158.Search in Google Scholar

DG Interpretation. 2012. “The conference interpreter’s language combination”. Available at http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/scic/what-is-conference-interpreting/ language-combination/index_en.htm>. Last accessed 06 Aug 2015.Search in Google Scholar

Donovan, C. 2002. “Survey of user expectations and needs”. In: Teaching simultaneous interpretation into a ‘B’ language. EMCI Workshop proceedings. Paris: ESIT. 2–11.Search in Google Scholar

Donovan, Clare. 2005. “Teaching simultaneous interpretation into B: A challenge for responsible interpreter training”. Communication and Cognition. Monographies 38(1–2). 147–166.Search in Google Scholar

Duyck, W. and M. Brysbaert. 2008. “Semantic access in number word translation: the role of crosslingual lexical similarity”. Experimental Psychology 55(2). 102– 112.Search in Google Scholar

Gile, D. 2005. “Directionality in conference interpreting: A cognitive view”. Communication and Cognition. Monographies 38(1–2). 9–26.Search in Google Scholar

Gile, D. 2015. “The contributions of cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics to conference interpreting. A critical analysis”. In: Ferreira, A. and J. W. Schwieter (eds.), Psycholinguistic and congitive inquiries into translation and interpreting. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 41–66.Search in Google Scholar

Gran, L., and F. Fabbro. 1988. “The role of neuroscience in the teaching of interpretation”. The Interpreters’ Newsletter 1. 23–41.Search in Google Scholar

Gumul, E. 2006. “Explicitation and directionality in simultaneous interpreting”. Available at <http://www.emcinterpreting.org/?q=system/files/Explicitation Directionality SI Gumul.pdf>. Last accessed 07 Aug 2015.Search in Google Scholar

Heij, W.L., Hooglander, A., Kerling, R. and E. van der Velden. 1996. “Nonverbal context effects in forward and backward word translation: Evidence for concept mediation”. Journal of Memory and Language 35(5). 648–665.Search in Google Scholar

Jörg, U. 1997. “Bridging the gap: Verb anticipation in German-English simultaneous interpreting”. In: Snell-Hornby, M., Z. Jettmarova and K. Kaindl (eds.), Translation as intercultural communication. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing. 217–228.Search in Google Scholar

Katschinka, L. 2002. “Survey on the conference interpreting profession in Central and Eastern Europe”. <http://www.jtpunion.org/english/Conf_int_survey.htm>. Last accessed 15 Oct 2009.Search in Google Scholar

Kroll, J.F. and E. Stewart. 1994. “Category interference in translation and picture naming – evidence for asymmetric connections between bilingual memory representations”. Journal of Memory and Language 33(2). 149–174.Search in Google Scholar

Kroll, J.F., J.G. van Hell, N. Tokowicz and D.W. Green. 2010. “The Revised Hierarchical Model: A critical review and assessment”. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 13(3). 373–381.Search in Google Scholar

Kroll, J.F., E. Michael, N. Tokowicz and R. Dufour. 2002. “The development of lexical fluency in a second language”. Second Language Research 18(2). 137– 171.Search in Google Scholar

Kujałowicz, A., A. Chmiel, K. Rataj and M. Bartłomiejczyk. 2008. “The effect of conference interpreting training on bilingual word production”. Paper presented at the 39th Poznań Linguistic Meeting (PLM2008), Gniezno, Poland.Search in Google Scholar

Kurz, I. and B. Farber. 2003. “Anticipation in German–English simultaneous interpreting”. Forum 1(2). 123–150.Search in Google Scholar

Lim, H.-O. 2005. “Working into the B language: The condoned taboo?” Meta 50(4).Search in Google Scholar

Linck, J.A., J.F. Kroll and G. Sunderman. 2009. “Losing access to the native language while immersed in a second language: Evidence for the role of inhibition in second-language learning”. Psychological Science 20(12). 1507–1515.Search in Google Scholar

Mead, P. 2005. “Directionality and fluency: an experimental study of pausing in consecutive interpretation into English and Italian”. Communication and Cognition. Monographies 38(1–2). 127–146.Search in Google Scholar

Morris, R.K. 2006. “Lexical processing and sentence context effects”. In: Traxler, M. and M. Gernsbacher (eds.), Handbook of psycholinguistics. (2nd ed.) London: Elsevier. 337–402.Search in Google Scholar

Nicodemus, B. and K. Emmorey. 2013. “Direction asymmetries in spoken and signed language interpreting”. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 16(3). 624–636.Search in Google Scholar

Padilla, P., J.J. Canas and F. Padilla. 1995. “Cognitive processes of memory in simultaneous interpretation”. In: Tommola, J. (ed.), Topics in interpreting research. Turku: University of Turku, Centre for Translation and Interpreting. 61– 71.Search in Google Scholar

Pavlović, N. 2007. “Directionality in translation and interpreting practice. Report on a questionnaire survey in Croatia”. Forum 5(2). 79–99.Search in Google Scholar

R Development Core Team. (2009). “R: A language and environment for statistical computing”. Available at http://www.R-project.org>. Last accessed 29 Oct 2015.Search in Google Scholar

Rejškova, J. 2002. “Teaching experience of simultaneous into B”. In: Teaching simultaneous interpretation into a ‘B’ language. EMCI Workshop proceedings. Paris: ESIT. 30–34.Search in Google Scholar

Riccardi, A. 1998. “Interpreting strategies and creativity”. In: Beylard-Ozeroff, A., J. Kralova and B. Moser-Mercer (eds.), Translators’ strategies and creativity. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 171–180.Search in Google Scholar

Schwartz, A.I. and J.F. Kroll. 2006. “Bilingual lexical activation in sentence context”. Journal of Memory and Language 55(2). 197–212.Search in Google Scholar

Seeber, K.G. 2001. “Intonation and anticipation in simultaneous interpreting”. Cahiers de Linguistique Française 23. 61–97.Search in Google Scholar

Seleskovitch, D. and M. Lederer. 1989. Pédagogie raisonnée de l’interprétation. Paris: Didier.Search in Google Scholar

Seleskovitch, Danica. 1978. Interpreting for international conferences: Problems of language and communication. Washington: Pen & Booth.Search in Google Scholar

Seleskovitch, D. and M. Lederer. 1995. A systematic approach to teaching interpretation. Silver Spring: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.Search in Google Scholar

Setton, R. 1999. Simultaneous interpretation: A cognitive-pragmatic analysis. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Search in Google Scholar

Sholl, A., A. Sankaranarayanan and J.F. Kroll. 1995. “Transfer between picture naming and translation: A test of asymmetries in bilingual memory”. Psychological Science 6(1). 45–49.Search in Google Scholar

Shreve, G.M. and B.J. Diamond. 1997. “Cognitive processes in translation and interpreting: Critical issues”. In: Danks, J. (ed.), Cognitive processes in translation and interpreting. London: Sage. 233–251.Search in Google Scholar

Sunderman, G. and J. F.Kroll. 2006. “First language activation during second language lexical processing: An investigation of lexical form, meaning, and grammatical class”. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 28(3). 387–422.Search in Google Scholar

Sunnari, M. 1996. “Comparison of expert and novice performance in simultaneous interpreting”. In: Proceedings of the XIV World Congress of FIT. Melbourne. 993–1000.Search in Google Scholar

Szabari, K. 2000. “Korkep a konferencia-tolmacs szakmarol egy felmeres tukreben” [An overview of conference interpreting in the light of a survey]. Fordítástudomány 2(1). 71–87.Search in Google Scholar

Szabari, K. 2002. “Interpreting into the B Language”. In: Teaching simultaneous interpretation into a ‘B’ language. EMCI Workshop proceedings. Paris: ESIT. 12–19.Search in Google Scholar

Titone, D., M. Libben, J. Mercier, V. Whitford and I. Pivneva. 2011. “Bilingual lexical access during L1 sentence reading: The effects of L2 knowledge, semantic constraint, and L1–L2 intermixing”. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition 37(6). 1412–1431.Search in Google Scholar

Tommola, J. and M. Heleva. 1998. “Language direction and source text complexity: Effects on trainee performance in simultaneous interpreting”. In: Bowker, L., M. Cronin, D. Kenny and J. Pearson (eds.), Unity in diversity. Current trends in translation studies. Manchester: St. Jerome. 177–186.Search in Google Scholar

van Assche, E., D. Drieghe, W. Duyck, M. Welvaert and R.J. Hartsuiker. 2011. “The influence of semantic constraints on bilingual word recognition during sentence reading”. Journal of Memory and Language 64(1). 88–107.Search in Google Scholar

van Dam, H. 2001. “On the option between form-based and meaning-based interpreting: The effect of source text difficulty on lexical target text form in simultaneous interpreting”. The Interpreters’ Newsletter 11. 27–55.Search in Google Scholar

van Hell, J.G. 2005. “The influence of sentence context constraint on cognate effects in lexical decision and translation.” In: Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Bilingualism. Somerville: Cascadilla Press. 2297–2309.Search in Google Scholar

van Hell, J.G. and A.M. de Groot. 2008. “Sentence context modulates visual word recognition and translation in bilinguals”. Acta Psychologica 128(3). 431–451.Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2016-6-13
Published in Print: 2016-6-13

© 2016 Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland