The Conceptual Mapping Model for Consecutive Interpreting

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Chapter Two On Quality and Competence in Consecutive Interpreting

Before my exploration on how to improve the quality of consecutive interpreting and its teaching quality, I would like to provide an overview of the fundamental concepts of interpreting research so as to provide a theoretical basis for my current research. Therefore,in this chapter, firstly, I will introduce a typology of interpreting modes, in an effort to categorize types of interpreting (section 2.1.1). Particular attention will be given to consecutive interpreting with a discussion of its definition, classification as well as its changing role in socio-cultural contexts (section 2.1.2). Secondly, I will address the nature of interpreting, a question which can lead to different approaches to two interrelated central concerns throughout interpreting research: (a) what is good quality interpreting? and (b) what competences are needed for quality interpreting?
This literature review has revealed two major approaches to interpreting: the processoriented approach and the produc oriented approach. In the process-oriented approach,interpreting is seen as a complex cognitive process of completing information tasks (section 2.2.1). In the product-oriented approach, interpreting is centered on the analysis of the target text (TT) (section 2.2.2). I believe that these two approaches are complementary,rather than contradictory, since a combination of them can provide a more comprehensive picture of interpreting when both the product (i.e. TT) and process (before and during the interpreting session) are taken into consideration.Thirdly, in order to clarify the nature of interpreting (as mentioned above), I will investigate interpreting quality, a central topic not only for Interpreting Studies (Grbić 2008), but also for the professionalization of the interpreting industry. To begin with, I will examine the multi-layered nature of interpreting quality (section 2.3.1). Then I will offer insights into the notion of quality criteria in terms of categorization (section and complexity in rating the degree of importance (section Major surveys on the degree of importance of specific quality criteria will be reported along two dimensions: interpreter self-perception (section and expectations or preferences of users of interpreting services (section Based on the findings of interpreter-based surveys and user-based surveys, I will further discuss what might be the core of shared interpreting quality criteria which could be used as basic guide lines for quality evaluation, in particular with relevance for interpreter training (section Finally, I will redefine the notion of the interpreter, with the purpose to make explicit the important role of cognitive sub-competence (section 2.4). To begin with, the term of interpreter competence‘ (as used in my study) needs to be clarified (section 2.4.1), due to (a) a common confusion of competence for translation and competence for interpreting in current interpreting pedagogical contexts (section; and (b) my emphasis on the active role of the interpreter, assuming that interpreting is more than a good command of interpreting skills (e.g. listening, public speaking, note-taking, etc.) (section Interpreter competence serves as an umbrella term covering all sorts of knowledge and skills that are involved in interpreting. On the assumption that interpreter competence is decomposable, I adopt a componential approach in which interpreter competence is considered as consisting of a set of sub-competences which interact with each other for successful completion of interpreting (section 2.4.2). Each individual sub-competence is clearly explained (section with a focus on cognitive sub-competence (section, as my study focuses on student interpreters‘ cognitive abilities in efficient management of their limited cognitive resources.

A Typology of Interpreting Modes

Both translation and interpreting are thought to facilitate communication among people from different language and cultural backgrounds, the former in written form while the latter is in oral form. It is understandable that interpreting is one of the oldest professions in the world (Roberts 2002:157), since spoken language ―clearly predates the invention of writing‖ (Pöchhacker 2004:21) The demand for interpreting services has never ceased due to the complexity of socio-cultural contexts which involve communication, interaction and conflict not only across nations (Bowen et al. 1995), but within the nations which have migrants from a wide variety of cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds‖ (Crezee 1997:1). Debates have arisen on the approach to classify the various forms of interpreting activities;
one paradigm presents a general division of interpreting into conference interpreting, court interpreting and community interpreting. Roberts (2002) explains that conference interpreting covers exclusively interpreting services for any meetings, large or small; court interpreting gains an independent status by dealing with the legal system of a nation, and community interpreting helps immigrants to get equal access to social services in their host country (157). Another paradigm for classification of interpreting activities offers a division of simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting and liaison interpreting. Briefly, simultaneous interpreting refers to a non-stoppable delivery of interpretation at the same time as the speaker is giving the speech. Consecutive interpreting means that the speaker pauses after a few sentences, waiting for the interpreter to orally render what has just been said. Liaison interpreting refers to the scenario where the interpreter mediates in a dialogue between the speaker and the listener (Hatim & Mason 2002). In my opinion,these two paradigms are not contradictory, but complementary to each other by focusing on the nature of interpreting activities from different perspectives. The former emphasizes the social settings where interpreting activities take place, while the latter explains the delivery manner (whether non-stoppable as in SI or stoppable as in CI), as well as the triangular relationship among the three parties, i.e. the interpreter, the speaker and the client. For a clear overall vision of interpreting activities as well as the status of consecutive interpreting among these interpreting activities in the following section, I will first provide a typology of interpreting modes within a multi-parameter framework (section 2.1.1). Given the objective of the present study, I will then continue to examine the mode of consecutive interpreting more thoroughly regarding its history, subtype and current status in socio-cultural and pedagogical contexts (section 2.1.2).


Existing research on interpreting classifies interpreting activities by using single parameters (Salevsky 1982; Phelan 2001) or multiple parameters (Alexieva 2002; Pöchhacker 2004). In the single-parameter approach, a single indicator could be used to categorize a variety of interpreting activities, for example, delivery mode i.e. consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, or interpreting tools i.e. consecutive with notes and consecutive without notes (Salevsky 1982, cited in Alexieva 2002:220), or physical distance between the interpreter and his/her client (SI in the booth SI out of the booth or as in whispered interpreting). It should be noted that social setting serves as an important indicator often used to designate the interpreting activities according to the specific working scenarios where they take place, for example, conference interpreting, court interpreting, medical interpreting, business interpreting, diplomatic interpreting, or military interpreting (Pöchhacker 2004:14-5). The single-parameter approach has a methodological problem in that interpreting activities might be treated as loosely connected or having no connection at all. A common practice in categorization has been to list these setting-related interpreting activities without showing their interrelationship. For example, in Phelan‘s (2001) term, simultaneous interpreting (SI) and whispered interpreting are treated in isolation, as if they are two completely different working modes fit for different settings (with the former used in international conferences while the latter is used in court proceedings). However, the fact is that whispered interpreting is another form of SI in where the interpreter sits behind his/her client and interprets simultaneously what is being said in the court.
The multi-parameter approach was developed by Alexieva (2002) and Pöchhacker (2004). With the aim of illustrating the complexity and interrelationships of interpreting activities, this type of approach uses a combination of typological parameters, namely, (1) social setting; (2) constellations of interaction (bilateral interaction in community interpreting versus multi-lateral interaction in international conference interpreting such as at the UN); (3) language modality (sign language for the deaf versus spoken language interpreting); (4) working mode (consecutive versus simultaneous interpreting); (5) directionality (into the interpreter‘s A language in conference interpreting or between the interpreter‘s A and B languages in retour interpreting); (6) use of technology6 (the use of technology in remote interpreting); and (7) professional status (professional interpreter versus natural interpreter/ad hoc interpreter) (Pöchhacker 2004).To overcome the loose categorization that results from the single-parameter approach, each type of interpreting is not viewed as in isolation, but as an integrated part of the interpreting family. In her prototype theory, Alexieva (2002) suggests that individual interpreting events should not be treated as ―rigid categories‖, but as family members with central members (prototypes) and peripheral members (blend-forms) being identified on the basis of their position on a scale or continuum‖ (221).

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Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
List of Tables
List of Figures
Chapter One Introduction
1.1 Background of Interpreting in China
1.1.1 An Overview of the Market The Emergence of Freelance Professionals A Lack of Qualified Interpreters
1.1.2 Interpreter Training in China An Uplifted Status of Interpreter Training Pedagogical Problems
1.1.3 Interpreting Research at Different Developmental Stages Stage 1: Translation of Western Books on Interpreting (1979-1995) Stage 2: IR by Chinese Interpreter Trainers and Scholars
1.2 The Position of this Study 
1.3 Research Scope
1.4 Research Question and Hypothesis
1.5 Research Methodology
1.6 The Outline of the Study
Chapter Two On Quality and Competence in Consecutive Interpreting 
2.1 A Typology of Interpreting Modes
2.1.1 Categorization
2.1.2 Consecutive Interpreting Defining Consecutive Interpreting Classification The Changing Role of Consecutive Interpreting
2.2 The Nature of Interpreting
2.2.1 The Process-oriented Approach
2.2.2 The Product-oriented Approach
2.3 Interpreting Quality
2.3.1 Defining Interpreting Quality
2.3.2 Quality Criteria Categorization The Rating of Quality Criteria Interpreter Perspective User Perspective Shared Quality Criteria by Interpreters and Users
2.4 Interpreter Competence 
2.4.1 Terminological Clarification Interpreter Competence versus Translator Competence Interpreter Competence versus Interpreting Competence
2.4.2 The Componential Approach to Interpreter Competence A Model of Interpreter Competence Cognitive sub-competence
2.5 Summary
Chapter Three Cognitive Overload and Cognitive Processing Capacity Management in Consecutive Interpreting
3.1 Cognitive Problems as a Major Challenge to Interpreting Quality 
3.2 Review of Gile‘s (1995) Effort Model for Consecutive Interpreting: Memory and Attention 
3.3 Cognitive Processing Capacity Management (CPCM)
3.3.1 Memory Operations Working Memory and Long Term Memory Their Deficiencies
3.3.2 Attention Allocation
3.4 Cognitive Overload in Consecutive Interpreting
3.4.1 Definition of Cognitive Overload
3.4.2 Causes of Cognitive Overload Active Listening Note-taking Speaking while Note-reading
3.5 Summary
Chapter Four The Conceptual Mapping Model for Consecutive Interpreting
4.1 The Aims of the Model
4.2 The Theoretical Framework for the Model 
4.2.1 Scene-frame Theory (Fillmore 1977)
4.2.2 Relevance Theory (Sperber & Wilson 1986) Human Communication as Ostensive-inferential The Two Principles of Relevance
4.3 Fundamental Concepts
4.3.1 Interpreting Processes: Interpreters‘ Preparatory Work and Their On-going Interpreting
4.3.2 Segmentation
4.3.3 Mind Mapping and Concept Mapping
4.4 Operation of the Model
4.4.1 Consecutive Interpreting as Conceptual Mapping Relevance in Conceptual Mapping Example
4.4.2 Operational Constructs: Concept Units and Information Units Concept Units Information Units Example The analysis of information units The analysis of concept units
4.4.3 The Working Strategies The Attention Strategy The Layering Strategy The Clarity Strategy
4.5 Summary
Chapter Five An Experimental Study of the Training Effects of the Conceptual Mapping Model
5.1 Research Question, Hypotheses and Aims
5.1.1 Research Question
5.1.2 Hypotheses and Aims Sub-hypothesis 1 Sub-hypothesis 2 Sub-hypothesis 3
5.2 Research Approach and Methods
5.3 Research Design 
5.4 The Study Context
5.4.1 Learning Objectives. The Initial Learning Stage The Mid Learning Stage The Final Learning Stage
5.4.2 Teaching Methods: The Conceptual Mapping Model The Initial Learning Stage The Mid Learning Stage The Final Learning Stage
5.5 Research Participants
5.6 Data Collection Tools and Methods
5.6.1 Background Questionnaires Components of the Questionnaires Procedure of Collecting the Questionnaire Data
5.6.2 Testing Materials Selection Criteria The Source Text for Testing
5.7 Data Analysis Tools and Methods
5.7.1 Coding Schemes for the Two Questionnaires
5.7.2 Evaluation of Interpreted Texts Information-based Error Analysis Categories of Information-related Errors Quantifying the Pre-set Error Types The Rating Principle
5.8 Summary
Chapter Six Research Findings and Discussion 
6.1 Data Analysis of the Collected Questionnaires
6.1.1 Pre-training Questionnaire (Q1) Category for Students’ LTM Management Category for Students’ Learning Expectations Category for Students’ Learning Status
6.1.2 Post-training Questionnaire (Q2)
6.1.3 Discussion Related to Sub-hypothesis 1
6.2 Data Analysis of the Interpreted Texts
6.2.1 Types of Errors Errors Related to Information Units Errors Related to the Linkage Clarity of Expression
6.2.2 The Experimental Group
6.2.3 The Control Group
6.3 Summary
Chapter Seven Teaching Implications of the Application of the Conceptual Mapping Model
7.1 Cognitive Training in the Teaching of Interpreting
7.1.1 The Necessity of Professional Training
7.1.2 The Quality Criteria for Professional Training
7.1.3 The Pedagogical Challenges to Cognitive Training in the Context of Interpreting
7.2 Implications of the Application of the Conceptual Mapping Model
7.2.1 Different Thinking Patterns in Source Text and Target Text
7.2.2 The Important Role of Cognitive Sub-competence
7.2.3 Learner Autonomy
7.3 A Training Model for Cognitive Training in Consecutive Interpreting
7.3.1 Learning Environment: Authenticity
7.3.2 Free Translation and Literal Translation
7.3.3 Note-taking and Conceptual Mapping
7.3.4 A Combination of Product- and Process-oriented Feedback
7.3.5 Trainers‘ Role in Learner Autonomy
7.4 Summary
Chapter Eight Conclusion 
8.1 Synopsis
8.2 Limitations
8.3 Working Directions for Future Research
Appendix A: The Analysis of the Test Material
Appendix B: Interview Questionnaire One (before the Cognitive Training)
Appendix C: Interview Questionnaire Two (after the Cognitive Training)

Cognitive Processing Capacity Management in the Teaching of Consecutive Interpreting — Proposal for a Conceptual Mapping Model

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