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Discussing Questions From the Floor from the Simultaneous Interpreter’s Perspective

오미형 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Simultaneous interpretation (SI) requires various cognitive efforts to be made all at once, such as listening, comprehension, target discourse production, short-term memory, and coordination. It can be performed successfully when the interpreter’s capacity exceeds the capacity required for the process. Many factors affect how much capacity the interpreter can exploit and how much is required at any given moment during SI. Source text (ST) is obviously one of such factors, and therefore, this study aims to understand its characteristics. Grasping the various traits of ST can help the interpreters to better anticipate what is coming, and hence, to better manage the cognitive load demanded during the SI process. The data consisted of 100 questions posed by audiences at various conferences. An analysis of their forms and contents shows that questions from the audience share some common traits. Discourse markers such as interrogatives and/or interrogative final endings can often be misleading, as the discourse function itself is not to ask a question, but to counter-argue, blame, and/or save face. When the discourse function is purely to ask a question, the question frequently comes in the form of request or statement. This finding also reveals characteristics of spoken language, such as the use of unfit conjunction, repetition, and use of personalized collocations and expressions. All these traits of ST can hamper the interpreter’s comprehension in the SI process. However, understanding them can help the interpreters, especially student or novice interpreters, to correctly anticipate what is coming and to implement an effective strategies to manage the SI process early on.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.