SI is higher than after ST.
ST may be required in different settings: interpreting some written documents in a trade meeting, interpreting some legal papers in a court, etc.
One of the outstanding features of ST is that, unlike most other forms of interpreting, it is produced at the interpreter’s own pace. Lambert (2004) also makes a distinction between ‘rehearsed’ ST and ‘unrehearsed’ ST. In the former (which is oftentimes the case), the interpreter is given some time for preparation before the actual task of interpretation starts whereas in the latter, there is no or little time for preparation and the interpreter has to sight-translate on-line.
Weber (1990, cited in Lee, 2012) contends that in ST the following capabilities are of prime significance: analyzing the source text rapidly, converting information from source language into target language rapidly without falling into the trap of word-for-word rendering, and being good at public speaking.
2.2.4 Simultaneous Interpreting with Text
One of the sub-types of SI, particularly common at very formal speeches and events (for instance when heads of state are making their speech at the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly), is when the speaker reads out a speech which has already been written down. This speech is also made available to the interpreter beforehand; the interpreter is listening to the oral delivery of a text the written version of which he is looking at, and at the same time translates it into the target language.
The interpreter is spared the effort of listening as the only channel of reception of the content (there is a visual channel to assist the auditory one), as well as the STM effort to store temporarily bits of information to be rendered into TL. Also the possibility of problems arising from speaker’s non-standard, peculiar pronunciations, sound equipment disruptions are ruled out. All this seems to suggest that “simultaneous interpreting with text” (Pöchhacker, 2004, p. 19) should be less burdensome in comparison with its text-less counterpart.
Nonetheless, this is oftentimes not the case; the speakers do not necessarily follow the text to the letter and at times decide to make changes to it while presenting the speech. This means that the interpreter cannot and must not rely too much on the text losing sight of what the speaker is actually saying on the stage. Still a bigger problem is that speaking off the cuff requires certain cognitive efforts which slow down the speed of presentation while reading out from paper, the speaker is relieved from the cognitive struggle to form the speech on-line and thus presents the speech at a much faster speed. In the former case the interpreter is naturally provided with the pauses and delays he needs to tackle the time problem whereas in the latter case he is faced with the magnified problem of keeping pace with a speaker who is talking faster than normal.
2.2.5 Liaison Interpreting
Liaison interpreting, also known as bilateral interpreting, is one of the oldest types of interpreting. It involves communication between two parties that speak different languages. The interpreter here has to have a good command of both languages because he has to work in both directions; from his A language to his B language and vice versa. It may sound very similar to consecutive interpreting, and indeed it does to a great extent resemble CI and may even be considered as a sub-type of consecutive interpretation. However, it is different from CI in that it does not normally require taking notes, or at least extensive notes as an essential part of it, and that it is operated in a two-way manner.
This type of interpretation does not require any special equipment and is used in informal meetings and for community interpreting as well.
2.2.6 Whispering Interpreting
Whispering or whispered interpretation is different from other modes of interpreting in that it is used in situations where only one person or very few people need an interpretation of the speech. In this mode, which is also known in the literature by the French name ‘chuchotage’ (Baigorri-Jalón, 2005, p. 993), the interpreter sits or stands next to the person needing the interpretation and whispers it into their ear.
As the explanation shows this type of interpretation can be used in a very limited range of situations and for short periods of time. This is in part due to the inconvenience caused for both the interpreter and the audience especially if there is more than one interpreter working in the same room. Chuchotage can be considered as a type of simultaneous interpretation since the delivery of the original speech and the interpretation happen almost concurrently.
2.2.7 Escort Interpreting
In this specific type of interpreting the interpreter accompanies a person or a group of people (hence the name escort or escorting) who are paying a visit to an event (such as a trade exhibition, etc.). This type of interpreting involves a combination of chuchotage and liaison interpretation.
2.3 Simultaneous Interpreting
From among the different modes and types of interpreting mentioned above, undoubtedly the most challenging and the most dreaded mode is simultaneous interpreting. This is mainly due to the cognitive complexity of the job and the high level of demand (see Lambert, 1988; Daró, 1994; Fabbro & Gran, 1994; Klonowicz, 1994; Lambert, 1994; Gile, 1995; Déjean Le Féal, 1997; Al-Khanji et al., 2000; Hamers et al., 2002; Lee, 2002; Mizuno, 2005; Pöchhacker, 2005; Seeber & Zelger, 2007) it puts on the practitioners.
Looking at the process of SI again with a more detailed view, we can see that the interpreter hears the new incoming input continuously while comprehending and analyzing it at the same time and stores it in his memory. At exactly the same time as this is happening, the previous chunk of the message has to be reformulated and rendered into the target language. What’s more the interpreter also has to listen to and monitor his own produced speech to make sure that mistakes are not made. Lambert (1988, p. 378) interestingly labels SI as “one of the most demanding human information processing tasks” in which the following have to be juggled by the interpreter:
a) s/he receives part of sentence (“chunk”) through the headphones ;
b) s/he begins translating and conveying chunk 1 ;
c) at the same time as s/he is vocalizing chunk 1, chunk 2 is being processed auditorily and stored until chunk 1 has been dealt with. According to Gerver (1964), the interpreter must be able to “hold” chunk 2 in some sort of echoic or phonemic store until chunk 1 has been transmitted. Furthermore, while emitting the translation of chunk 1, the interpreter is continuously monitoring his/her output to ensure its correctness. (Lambert, 1988, p. 378)
Kim (2006, p. 251) defines Simultaneous interpretation as
[…] a multi-tasking process in which the interpreter expresses a unit of meaning in the target language and at the same time grasps the sense of new words perceived by the brain. Also, the interpreter’s grasp of the sense, that is, understanding of meaning, should keep pace with the speed of the speaker’s utterances. In addition, a simultaneous interpreter carries the burden of listening to the speaker’s speech and his/her own voice at the same time. This burden reduces the efficiency of listening and has an adverse effect on recognition of the source language and expression of the target language.
As it is also referred to in the above account, one of the main challenges in SI is that “the interpreter cannot control the flowing sequence of a message” (Lee, 2002, p. 598). The simultaneity of the task of SI means that the speaker and the interpreter are speaking at the same time. In experimental psychology, the method requiring the subjects to say something while reading a tex
t or listening to a speech is called ‘articulatory suppression’ or ‘concurrent articulation’ which is believed “to interfere with comprehension or recall” (Mizuno, 2005, p. 740). Mizuno (2005, p. 740) states that producing the TL while listening to the SL in SI “is considered to be a kind of articulatory suppression, which may exert a negative influence on the recall and comprehension of interpreters.”
Nevertheless, there inevitably exists a time lag in between the two speeches for the interpreter’s speech lags behind that of the speaker as he needs a fraction of time to listen to and understand the message before being able to render it into the TL (Fabbro & Gran, 1994; Isham, 1994; Lee, 2002; Lee, 2011). This lag is technically referred to as ‘EVS’ or sometimes ‘TTS’ which will be discussed at length in section 2.3.3 below.
To make matters even worse, we may look at another account of SI provided by Kim (2006, p. 257):
Simultaneous interpretation is carried out through a complex cognitive process that requires multi-tasking. It calls for understanding of the source text and expression of the text in the target language; monitoring and correction of the interpreter’s own utterances; and the power of observation to catch the various kinds of clues inherent in the interpreting situation.
The last part of this observation reveals yet another daunting aspect of SI; the interpreter is not only supposed to concurrently receive and comprehend the ST (the incoming linguistic message), and reformulate and produce IT, but also he has to be observant enough and notice any extra-linguistic clues present in the setting of the communication as they may have a significant bearing on the message to be communicated.
However, the ‘simultaneity’ of the process of SI has not been treated as unobjectionable. Certain scholars believe that the term ‘simultaneous’ is only used with a compromise, arguing that it is not in the true sense ‘simultaneous’ but rather the