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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages eTheses
Title: Investigating trainee interpreters’ cognitive load in simultaneous interpreting and sight translation
Author(s): Li, Duoduo
Supervisor(s): de Pedro Ricoy, Raquel
Kuipers, Jan
Keywords: Simultaneous Interpreting
Sight Translation
Cognitive Load
Working Memory Capacity
Pupil size
Text difficulty
Delivery rate
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: While SI and ST have distinct mechanisms, they both exert significant cognitive demands on interpreters. Each mode has its own unique input method, and this difference underscores the importance of a comparative analysis. This study investigates the effects of delivery rate and text difficulty on trainee interpreters’ cognitive load in simultaneous interpreting (SI) and sight translation (ST), comprising both an online experiment and a lab experiment. To delve deeply into this, a mixed-method approach was adopted. Data collection encompassed both quantitative and qualitative methods, including self-assessments, pupillometry, galvanic skin response (GSR), holistic accuracy assessments, and retrospective interviews. Online study findings indicated a higher cognitive load for trainees in SI than in ST. In SI, both delivery rate and text difficulty influenced the trainees’ perceived cognitive load and their accuracy scores, with delivery rate showing a stronger impact. In contrast, for ST, while both factors affected perceived cognitive load and accuracy, text difficulty had a more pronounced effect on trainees’ output accuracy. Lab study confirmed greater cognitive load in SI compared to ST, with delivery rate significantly influencing pupil size in SI. Both delivery rate and text difficulty influenced accuracy in SI, reaffirming the stronger impact of delivery rate. In ST, although no significant changes in pupil size were observed due to either factor, accuracy was influenced by both, with text difficulty showing a more pronounced effect. Furthermore, the performance-based measurement of cognitive load, represented by trainees’ accuracy scores, consistently confirmed these findings, whereas physiological measurements, like pupil size, showed mixed results. No significant differences were observed in GSR across various conditions in both SI and ST tasks, and no correlation was identified between GSR and either pupil size or accuracy scores. This research offers empirical evidence for the cognitive comparison between sight translation and simultaneous interpreting, providing some valuable insights for pedagogical practices.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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