Coherence in simultaneous interpreting : an idealized cognitive model perspective
This study aims to explore the two questions: 1) Does the interpreter’s relevant bodily experience help her to achieve coherence in the source text (ST) and the target text (TT)? 2) How does the interpreter’s mental effort expended in achieving coherence reflect the textual structure of the ST? The findings of this study contribute to the general understanding of how coherence is achieved in simultaneous interpreting (SI). The theoretical framework is based on the concept of the Idealized Cognitive Model (ICM), which emphasizes the role of bodily experience in organizing and understanding knowledge. A bodily experience based experiment was conducted with two contrastive groups: experimental group and control group, involving thirty subjects from a China-based university, who had Chinese as their first language and English as their second language. The data collected was recordings of English to Chinese simultaneous interpretations. Coherence in SI was analyzed on the basis of both quantitative and qualitative approaches by virtue of coherence clues. The analysis shows that the interpreter’s bodily experience helped her to achieve coherence and distribute her mental effort in both the ST and TT. As the term ICM suggests, the cognitive model is idealized on the grounds that the ICM does not fit into the real specifics of a textual structure perfectly or all the time. The ICM is an open-ended model in terms of the analysis of understanding abstract concepts especially in this SI discourse and needs more research. This study can contribute to SI research and training, suggesting that specialization is a trend in interpreting education.