The Importance of Teaching Techniques to Improve Cognitive Processes in Interpreting Courses

R. D. H. Vithanage


Oral translation or interpreting has always been understood as a task involvedwith high proficiency in two languages or a superior form of bilingualism practiced.This study aims at identifying the importance of studying human cognitive processesoperational in language interpreting, especially in the process of training interpreters.During the study, it has been identified that many of the interpreting courses, theirtrainers and amateur interpreters have overlooked the role of cognitive processesnamely, attention, memory, speech perception, comprehension and speech productionduring the course of interpreting. The main objective of the study is to challenge thecurrent point of view of the interpreters and trainers that the language proficiency is theutmost need of a good interpreter. The study puts forward the question whether efficientbilinguals / translators can still go wrong in their interpretations and what are theunderlying causes for the errors and omissions made by them. In carrying out this study,a sample of 15 undergraduates who had offered translation methods as a core subject fortheir B.A. degree at the University of Kelaniya were tested for the errors and omissionsthey made during interpreting tasks. By comparing the results of two interpretingattempts and a translation, the relationship between the cognitive factors andinterpreting is emphasized given the fact that for most of the errors and omissions, thecognitive intrusions could have influenced. Several techniques are suggested to be usedin future interpreting-training in order to enhance the quality of interpreting. Thefindings of this study aim at delivering ideas for future research in this line by applyingthese methods introduced.

Key words: Interpretin, Cognitive processes, Attention, Memory, Interpreters.

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