The influence of speed on omissions in simultaneous interpretation
An experimental study
Simultaneous interpreting (SI) is a highly complex cognitive process which aims to deliver a complete and accurate rendition of the original message in real time. However, there is a myriad of factors that can influence the process, speed being one of the factors most frequently put forward by practising interpreters as a major challenge. Against this background, we, who are professional interpreters at the United Nations and in the private market, and have observed that speed has become an increasingly present challenge in our work, have carried out an experimental study with the aim of elucidating one of the strategies that expert interpreters resort to when confronted with different speed rates, namely the omission of redundant information. Ten professional interpreters from the United Nations were asked to simultaneously interpret three speeches, which were written to be read and were of similar lexical density, at different speeds. The findings indicate that at higher speeds interpreters omit more redundant information, and it would appear that omission is a strategy the interpreter resorts to for coping with speed.
Published online: 15 December 2015
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