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Consecutive Interpreting in English Unit 2 Discussion Questions
Question 1: How can knowing about types of interpreter errors affect your understanding of the interpreting process?
Answer to question 1: Knowing the types and effects of various errors on the interpretation process can help you be more: Accountable for your work Ability to analyze your own work Helps focus attention on specific component processes such as: –Comprehension –Memory –Production Improvement strategies can be applied
Question 2: What are the main types of errors according to Gonzalez et al (1991)?
Answer to question 2: The main types of errors are: Literal translation Inadequate language proficiency –Grammatical errors –Lexical errors Register conservation Distortion Additions Omissions Protocol, Procedures and Ethics and Non-conservation of paralinguistic features
Literal Translation Errors : Literal translation errors where the interpreter does not preserve the ideas but focuses on substituting words from the target language for words in the source language. Example: Interpreter: I work in the package of lemons. Should be: I’m a lemon packer.
Inadequate Language Proficiency: General lack of language fluency makes it impossible for an interpreter to comprehend text well enough to convert ideas fully and faithfully at the requisite speed into the TL without faltering and communication breakdowns.
4 Processing Problems: 1. Lack of ability to correctly predict language patterns. (sentences & expressions) Example: “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen” rather than “Good evening gentlemen and ladies” –Language patterns in intonation Example: “In conclusion” –prepare for a summary of points-interpreter can mentally access memory for points
4 Processing Problems: 2. Cognitive Processing Errors: weaknesses in skills as comprehension, memory, acuity and discrimination, repetition, number processing, and multi-tasking.
4 Processing Problems: 3. Inadequate attention span in the weaker language due to a misuse of effort at the comprehension and memory storage stage of the interpreting process. –It’s common to feel fatigue in listening to and trying to comprehend a language in which you are not completely fluent. –Comprehension of source message is affected if source language is the weaker language. –If target language is the weaker language then weaknesses in attention span will lead to errors in monitoring and self-correction.
4 Processing Problems: 4. Interference between languages means sounds, words, grammatical patterns, and other features from one language are incorrectly used in the other language.
Two main categories of errors in language proficiency: 1. Grammatical Errors Verb Conjugation can skew the meaning of the message Verb Tense Agreement can alter the sense and can affect the credibility of the speaker Preserving Numbers can alter message drastically Example: Interpreter: Maybe I had a relative there… Should be: Maybe if I had had a relative there…
Two main categories of errors in language proficiency: 2. Lexical errors are due to a weak or inadequate access to the wide variety of synonyms and other intralingual skills. –Weaknesses in target language vocabulary can be overcome by accurate paraphrasing skills. –With accurate & rapid paraphrasing skills the interpreter can explain the topic or term in different words even when they do not know the specific term in the target language. –Language deficient interpreters would paraphrase, define, invent, omit, guess and very often cause a web of confusion.
Examples of Lexical Errors: Interpreter:“ Nowendays (sic) a lot of people reappear dead.” –Should be: “Nowadays a lot of people turn up dead. “ –Interpreter: “They came to recruit her.” –Should be: “They came to kidnap her.”
Errors in Register Conservation: Register refers to the level of formality of speech from courtroom, classroom, to a social event etc. –If has limited register i.e., informal, then the interpreter’s message is skewed in all other registers. –Interpreters must be able to correctly understand a full range of registers and to match the language. Example: Idiom- “scared to death” She is afraid of death She can’t sleep at night She is very afraid of her death. –None of these preserve the meaning thus message is lost.
Distortion: When a message is distorted, either the overall or part of meaning is lost. Prevalent among developing interpreters possibly because interpreters doesn’t understand the importance of preserving the entire message. Three possible reasons: –Deficient language skills, –Memory, or –Interpretation skills Most likely to happen when message is very short. (under 15 words) or if it has technical language, emotional intensity, hedges, particles, false starts, unfinished sentences, and incoherent language.
Examples of Distortion: 1. Interpreter: He has received some threats; all the time they were after him until he was killed. Should be: they threatened him, they pursued him until they killed him. 2. Interpreter: I just felt a little punched. Should be: I just felt the great blow. 3. Interpreter: I lost my eyesight. Should be: I lost my eye in combat.
Omission: Information that is deleted or left out. –If experienced interpreters leave out information tends to be due to fatigue. ‘ –Less experienced interpreters tend to omit due to failure to comprehend, inability to express a concept in the target language, or other language-based problems. –Processing or memory problems can lead to omission.
Examples of Omission: Interpreter: She said that when they came in she got nervous, that she was very nervous. She asked what’s happening and when she asked that and got in front of them, they put her aside. Should be: Well, when they entered, she says she got scared and became very nervous. When she asked them what was happening and faced them, they took her aside and beat her up. Interpreter: Well, they didn’t kill him, they threw him in there. Should be: Well, they didn’t kill him, they threw him in there alive.
Additions: Several Reasons: When an interpreter does not understand source message, may add several possible meanings to express concept. Using silence to add fillers & repetitions which can change a concise & compelling answer into a rambling & weak response. –Use silence as a brief rest period. –Powerless speech is characterized by lengthened responses. Does not remember the source message so “invent” information than keep silent or ask for clarification. Example: Interpreter: I believed that they killed, and it was an injustice what they did to her. Should be: …that they killed her unjustly.
Protocol, Procedure, and Ethics Being faithful to the message even when the message includes profanities Necessity to correct errors especially when interpretation becomes part of a formal record. Ex: in legal settings, which can cause confusion and harm. Ex: conversing with a witness while waiting for a trial to begin may provide interpreter with additional information that may later bias the interpretation or lead to mistakes. Ethics, procedures, protocol, and confidentiality are all extremely important.
Nonconservation of Paralinguistic Elements, Hedges, and Fillers Repetition of words or phrases, incomplete sentences, and words like “um”, “uh”, and “ah”. Example: Interpreter: Well, uh, because it is that way, Let’s put it this way… Should be: Well, uh, I don’t know how to say it. It’s that when..no of course it was that way, but how can I tell you: Let’s see, let’s see, let’s put it this way… Adding or subtracting fillers and hedges can change the impact of the message. Interpreters must be aware of the importance of preserving the message in its entirety including these paralinguistic elements.
Question 3: How does lack of language proficiency affect the interpretation process?
Answer to question 3: Lack of language proficiency affects the interpretation process in several important ways: If weakness is in the source language, it may mean the interpreter cannot understand the source message fully enough to interpret it. If weakness is in target language, the interpreter will have difficulty expressing the message clearly and accurately in the target language.
Question 4: How does the point in the process where the error occurs impact the message?
Answer to Question 4: The earlier in the process the error occurs, the more serious the error is likely to be and more likely to cause a serious problem in the target language message. Ex: Errors in comprehension are likely to be more serious than errors in transfer. Likewise, errors in transfer is likely to be more serious than errors in reformulation. Reformulation errors can be less serious if they are pronunciation errors. However errors in reformulation can be very serious if the error is in word selection or syntax and if it changes the meaning.
Errors in Interpreting: Comprehension TransferReformulation Very serious SeriousLess serious
Describing an Audience: Factors: 1. Size of the group Large-over 50 people Medium people Small-under 25 Interview setting-3-4 participants 2. Language used by the audience members and which register of that language is most appropriate for the setting and participants. –Mix of hearing and deaf –All deaf members (signed languages primary) –All hearing members (spoken language primary) –Unknown 3. Background knowledge and culture of the target audience 4. Conferences-tend to know the jargon and related background information. Be prepared to describe your audience