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|Memory Training in Interpreting |
|by Weihe Zhong |
|This paper discusses memory training in interpreting. According Gile's Effort Model (a Processing Capacity Account), short-term memory|
|is an essential part in the process of interpreting. This paper analyzes the major characteristics of Short-term Memory (STM) and |
|their implications for interpreters' memory training. The author believes that interpreting isan STM-centered activity, which |
|includes encoding of information from the Source Language, storing of information, retrieval of information, and decoding of |
|information into the target language. The training of STM skills is the first step in training a professional interpreter. Tactics for|
|memory training for interpreters like retelling, categorization,generalization, comparison, shadowing exercises, mnemonics, etc. are |
|presented in this paper. |
|Key Words: |
|Interpreter Training, Memory Training, Short-TermMemory, Effort Model |
|1. Why Memory Training? |
|Interpreting is defined as "oral translation of a written text" (Shuttleworth & Cowie: 1997:83). Mahmoodzadeh gives a more detailed |
|definition of interpreting:|
|Interpreting consists of presenting in the target language, the exact meaning of what is uttered in the source language either |
|simultaneously or consecutively, preserving the tone of the speaker (1992:231). |
|Whethernovice or experienced, all interpreters find this profession demanding and challenging. Phelan says that "when an interpreter |
|is working, he or she cannot afford to have a bad day. One bad interpreter can ruin a conference" (2001:4). In discussing the |
|qualifications required for an interpreter, Phelan mentions that:|
|"The interpreter needs a good short-term memory to retain what he or she has just heard and a good long-term memory to put the |
|information into context. Ability to concentrate is a factor as is the ability to analyze and process what is heard" (2001:4-5). |
|Mahmoodzadeh also emphasizes that a skillful interpreter is expected to "have a powerful memory."(1992:233). Daniel Gile (1992,1995) |
|emphasizes the difficulties and efforts involved in interpreting tasks and strategies needed to overcome them, observing that many |
|failures occur in the absence of any visible difficulty. He then proposes his Effort Models for interpreting. He says that "The Effort|
|Models are designed to help them [interpreters] understand these difficulties [ofinterpreting] and select appropriate strategies and |
|tactics. They are based on the concept of Processing Capacity and on the fact that some mental operations in interpreting require much|
|Processing Capacity."(1992:191) According to Gile, Consecutive Interpreting consists of two phases: a listening and reformulation |
|phrase and a reconstruction phase (1992:191, 1995b:179):...
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