Gile: coping tactics

Posted: 5 December, 2011 in Interpreting
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Coping tactics:

  • Difficulties arise in interpreting all time: that’s why interpreters earn more money than translators!
  • Interpreters learn to calmly cope with problems and continue interpreting
  • Difficulties both in production and comprehension
  • Normally, they learn to apply the tactics or strategies needed:
    • Comprehension, prevention and reformulation tactics

Comprehension tactics

  • Delaying the response
    • A fraction of a second
    • Problem: accumulation of information in the short term memory
  • Reconstructing the segment with the help of context
    • Sometimes you need to wait for more information
    • Not a high priority
  • Using a booth mate’s help
  • Consulting documents in the booth: glossary, dictionary, computer

Preventing tactics

  • Prepare yourself fot your interpreting task!
  • Applied in high time or processing pressure moments
  • Taking notes: numbers, names, dates, etc.
  • Change in Ear-Voice span (décalage):
    • Better to understand more information
    • Problem with overloading the short term memory
    • Possible to exercise
  • Changing the order of elements in an enumeration
  • Segmentation: chunk the information

Reformulation tactics

  • Delaying the response and search for the missing term if possible
  • Using a booth mate’s help
  • Consulting documents
  • Replace the segment with a superordinate term or a more general speech segment (hiperonym > hyponym)
  • Explain or paraphrase
    • Problem: large amount of time and effort required
  • Reproducing the sound heard in the source language speech
  • Instant naturalization
    • Repeat what you hear
    • Good when:
      • Similar terminology (i.e. medical terminology)
      • When borrowing is a normal process such as technology or other fields
      • If the audience is used to read in the source language
  • Transcoding
    • Maturity date -> fecha de madurez
    • Clean energy -> energía limpia
  • [Informing the audience of an interpreting problem:
    • The interpreter is sorry, she missed the last number and date
    • Not used very often. You loose credibility, it might be an ethical dilemma!]
  • Refering to other sources
  • Omit information
    • Priorize, main vs. secondary information
  • Paralell reformulation
    • Avoid not talking. Invent a segment. An extreme case subject to ethical considerations
  • Switching off the microphone
    • If the interpreter thinks that the conditions are so bad that it might be better not to offer an interpretation
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