Coping Tactics

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Coping Tactics in Interpretation
1. Introduction
In spite of interpreters' preparation strategies, problems do arise in interpreting situations (see Gile 1989) because of processing capacity limitations (as explained in chapter 7), errors in processing capacity management, and gaps in the interpreters' Knowledge Base. Many of these problems can be said to be unavoidable, as shown by the fact that they are encountered regularly even by interpreters with a solid reputation and long professional experience. Interpretation has been referred to by some professionals as "crisis management," and in the light of interpreters' daily experience, these are apt words to describe an aspect of interpreting which is virtually unknown to the public at large. Difficulties affect both comprehension and production, often through failure sequences as explained in chapter 7. When interpreters are aware of such problems, they tend to use a rather small set of tactics to limit their impact. Coping tactics are a very fundamental practical skill in interpreting. Basically, they are taught within the framework of practical exercises. In most training programs, this is done by trial and correction, with trial on the student's part and corrections from the instructor. Such corrections are generally normative; instructors sometimes refer to the communication impact of the tactics in order to explain their preferences, but are not necessarily aware of other factors which influence them. This chapter attempts to provide instructors with a list of basic coping tactics for a general view of the issue. It also presents a conceptual framework which spells out the advantages and drawbacks of each tactic, and discusses a few rules which may help explain what makes interpreters prefer one tactic over the other beyond their individual merits. 2. Tactics in simultaneous interpretation

2.1 Comprehension tactics
The following are the main tactics used when comprehension problems arise, and when they threaten to arise under time-related or processing capacityrelated pressure. a. Delaying the response
When a comprehension difficulty arises, interpreters may respond immediately with one of the other tactics presented below. However, they may also delay their response for a while (a fraction of a second to a few seconds), so as to have some time for thought while they receive more information from the source-language speech. After a while, they may have solved the problem entirely, or else they may decide to resort to another tactic. Because of its very nature, the Delay tactic involves an accumulation of information in short-term memory, and is associated with the risk of losing speech segments in a failure sequence as outlined in chapter 7. b. Reconstructing the segment with the help of the context

When interpreters have not properly heard or understood a technical term, name, number, or other type of speech segment, they can try to reconstruct it in their mind using their knowledge of the language, the subject, and, the situation (their extralinguistic knowledge). The reconstruction process is an integral part of speech comprehension in everyday situations as well. It is defined as a tactic in the present context when it becomes a conscious endeavor, as opposed to an ordinary, subconscious process. If successful, reconstruction can result in full recovery of the information. However, it may entail some waiting until more information is available and require considerable time and processing capacity. Like the Delay tactic presented above, it is associated with a high risk of saturation and individual deficits. Reconstruction from the context can therefore not be considered a high-priority tactic. c. Using the boothmate's help

In simultaneous interpretation, there are theoretically at least two interpreters in the booth at all times. One is active (producing a target-language speech), while the other is passive (listening, but not speaking). The passive...
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