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Sequentiality in Interpreters’ Memory

  • The Journal of Translation Studies
  • Abbr : JTS
  • 2018, 19(1), pp.227-246
  • DOI : 10.15749/jts.2018.19.1.009
  • Publisher : The Korean Association for Translation Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Interpretation and Translation Studies
  • Received : January 24, 2018
  • Accepted : March 20, 2018
  • Published : March 31, 2018

Hyeyeon Chung 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Professional interpreters can be characterized by a steady flow of speech, the completeness of the content as well as the correctness of the word choice. This paper attempts to find the causes of these three characteristics of professional interpreters in the sequentiality of their memory. Due to their professional ability to direct attention strategically, experienced interpreters are able to identify strategically important terms (phonological memory) that serve the formation of semantic memory, and to use them as a stimulus to activate the next semantic memory sequence. Once this sequence is activated, important terms within this semantic structure are also stimulated and activated, so that an alternating process of stimulation and activation takes place between phonological and semantic memory. As a result, the memory of the interpreters is (created and) retrieved sequentially. In order to test this hypothesis, four groups with different interpreting experience are tested for the sequentiality of their memory. Four short texts were read to them (100 wpm), and after each text, they rendered the content of the text as literally as possible (on a computer). Professional interpreters were indeed the group with the highest sequentiality. They reproduced the greatest amount of words and presented them in their original order. The group difference, however, was not statistically significant. When analyzing the MSR video, professional interpreters proved to be least influenced by the so-called “recency effect”, which is often reported in psychological studies.

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