EST Congress

I participated in the 6th Congress of the European Society for Translation Studies “Tracks and Treks in TS” held in Leuven, Belgium. I co-presented the following paper with Iwona Mazur:

Eye-tracking sight translation performed by trainee interpreters

Sight translation is frequently used as a method in interpreter training and might prove a useful skill in professional practice when interpreting speakers who read out their presentation slides or simply read their speeches (provided the text of the speech has been offered to the interpreters). It is thus worth researching this phenomenon to find out how the sight translation skill develops.
This paper presents results of an eye-tracking study involving sight translation performed by interpreting trainees. We assume that trainees at a more advanced stage of training will display more efficient reading patterns and will perform better quality sight translation than their less experienced colleagues. By selecting appropriate variables we expect to discover which features of a written text present the greatest challenge to the students and at which stage of training particular issues are mastered.
10 interpreting trainees at the end of their two-year M.A. programme in conference interpreting and 10 students after the first year of their conference interpreting training participated in the experimental study. They were asked to sight translate a text from Polish (their A language) into English (their B language). Tobii T60 eye-tracker was used to display the text in accordance with recommended settings (Gerganov 2007) and to track the participants’ eye movements. The students’ performance was additionally recorded by using Tobii’s build-in video camera for further analysis of the translation quality.
The experimental text included a set of independent variables, such as simple vs. complex sentences, low frequency lexical items and idioms. The dependent variables included the total translation time, scanning patterns and a range of eye-tracking measures, such as first fixation duration (assumed to be indicative of lexical access) and first pass duration (assumed to manifest syntactic and semantic processing) (Rayner 1998).
Eye-tracking data was combined with the analysis of quality of the students’ sight translations. The results are expected to give us better insight into the cognitive processes underlying the process of sight translation. This in turn should help interpreter trainers better adjust training materials to the needs of interpreter trainees as regards sight translation. The authors of the paper believe that eye-tracking will be yet another interdisciplinary track in Translation Studies that will allow researchers to go on new and exciting treks into the black box of translators and interpreters.