More spoken or more translated? Exploring a known unknown of simultaneous interpreting

Miriam Shlesinger and Noam Ordan

Since the early 1990s, with the advance of computerized corpora, translation scholars have been using corpus-based methodologies to look into the possible existence of overriding patterns (tentatively described as universals or as laws) in translated texts. The application of such methodologies to interpreted texts has been much slower in developing than in the case of translated ones, but significant progress has been made in recent years. After presenting the fundamental methodological hurdles—and advantages—of working on machine-readable (transcribed) oral corpora, we present and discuss several recent studies using cross-modal comparisons, and examine the viability of using interpreted outputs to explore the features that set simultaneous interpreting apart from other forms of translation. We then set out to test the hypothesis that modality may exert a stronger effect than ontology—i.e. that being oral (vs. written) is a more powerful influence than being translated (vs. original).

Table of contents

As advances in corpus technology allow for working with large corpora and the development of quantitative research designs, researchers in interpreting studies should consider the possibility of creating and maintaining collaborative research tools for investigations with different theoretical backgrounds.

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