Investigating interpreters’ empathy
Are emotions in simultaneous interpreting contagious?
An experimental study was conducted to examine whether simultaneous interpreters are affected by the speaker’s emotions. To this end, two measures of emotion were used: galvanic skin response (GSR) as a marker of emotional arousal, and SUPIN – the Polish adaptation of PANAS (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule). A group of interpreters with Polish as their A language and English as their B language (N = 20) took part in the experiment. They were asked to simultaneously interpret two speeches (recordings accompanied by video) from Polish into English: a neutral speech and an emotional speech. The results show that the interpreters are indeed affected by the speaker’s emotions, which is reflected in both a greater galvanic skin response and higher SUPIN scores for the emotional speech, when compared to the neutral speech and baseline values. The results may shed new light on the importance of emotion processing in simultaneous interpreting.
Keywords: emotional responding, empathy, emotional contagion, simultaneous interpreting, galvanic skin response (GSR)
Published online: 31 July 2018
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