Memory in the Interpretation Process

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Why is memory important in the Interpretation Process?

“Interpretation is a communication process, designed to reveal meanings and relationships of our cultural and natural heritage, through involvement with objects, artifacts, landscapes and sites”. Interpretation Canada. This paper discusses memory training in interpreting. According to the Daniel Gile’s Effort Model a short-term memory is important in an essential part in the process of interpreting. I will analyze the major characteristics of Short-Term Memory (STM) and their implications for interpreters’ memory training. The concept of

1.Why memory Training?
Interpreting is defined as "oral translation of a written text" (Shuttleworth & Cowie: 1997:83). However, there are many definitions given by various performers and writers. 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.

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. An interpreter is expected to have a “powerful memory”; authors have emphasized in the difficulties and failures when interpreting, that is why it is important to learn and practice the Effort Models. The Effort Models are designed to help the interpreters understand these difficulties and select and appropriate strategy and tactic in order to develop a better ability. According to Daniel Gile, Consecutive Interpretation consists in two important phases: a listening and reformulation phrase and a reconstruction phase. (1992:191, 1995b:179). Phase One: I = L + M + N

I = Interpreting, L = Listening and analyzing the source language speech, M = short-term memory required between the time information is heard and the time it is written down in the notes, N = note – taking. Phase Two: I = Rem + Read + P

Interpreters retrieve messages from their short – term memory and reconstruct the speech (Rem), read the notes (N), and Produce the Target Language Speech (P).

Simultaneous Interpretation
SI = L + M + P
SI = Simultaneous Interpretation
L = Listening and Analysis, includes all the mental operations between perception of a discourse by auditory mechanisms and the moment at which the interpreter either assigns, or decides not to assign, a meaning (or several potential meanings) to the segment which he has heard." M = Short-term Memory, which includes "all the mental operations related to storage in memory of heard segments of discourse until either their restitution in the target language, their loss if they vanish from memory, or a decision by the interpreter not to interpret them." P = Production, which includes "all the mental operations between the moment at which the interpreter decides to convey a datum or an idea and the moment at which he articulates (overtly produces) the form he has prepared to articulate" (1995a:93). Gile emphasizes that the memory effort is assumed to stem form the need to store the words of a proposition until the hearer receives the end of that proposition. The storage of information is claimed to be particularly demanding in SI, since both the volume of information and the pace of storage and retrieval are imposed by the speaker (1995a:97-98). In both models, Gile emphasizes the significance of Short-term Memory. It is actually one of the specific skills which should be imparted to trainees in the first stage of training. Among all the skills and techniques which are required for a good interpreter, memory skill is the first one which should be introduced to trainee interpreters.

2.Memory in Interpreting
2.1Short Term Vs. Long Term Memory
Psychological studies of human memory make a distinction between Short-Term Memory (STM) and...
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