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Title: Terminology preparation for simultaneous interpreters
Author: Xu, Ran
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2015
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Simultaneous interpreting requires efficient use of highly domain-specific terminology in the working languages of an interpreter. By necessity, interpreters often work in a wide range of domains and have limited time to prepare for new topics. To ensure the best possible simultaneous interpreting of specialised conferences where a great number of domain-specific terms are used, interpreters need preparation, usually under considerable time pressure. They need to familiarise themselves with concepts, technical terms, and proper names in the interpreters’ working languages. There is little research into the use of modern terminology extraction tools and pipelines for the task of simultaneous interpreting. A few previous studies mentioned the application of corpora as potential electronic tools for interpreters. For instance, Fantinuoli (2006) and Gorjanc (2009) discussed the functions of specific online crawling tools and explored ways to extract specialised terminology from disposable web corpora for interpreters. However, there has not been any empirical study to test how term extraction tools and the use of corpora can help interpreters increase their preparation efficiency and how these technologies and practices influence interpreters’ simultaneous interpreting performance. This study investigates a corpus-based terminology preparation pipeline integrating building small comparable corpora, using automatic term extractors and concordancers. We compared and evaluated several term extraction and concordance tools for Chinese and English, and a single term extractor and a concordancer with comparatively better performance were selected to be used in the empirical study of this research. With training on how to use the tools for interpreting preparation, interpreters are expected to develop the skills to build their own terminology resources and activate relevant terms for specialised simultaneous interpreting tasks. This study also investigates the effect of using the tools on trainee interpreters’ performances by looking at the quality of their simultaneous interpreting outputs. For this purpose, we ran two experiments with MA trainee interpreters at the University of Leeds using different preparation procedures (and tools) to prepare for simultaneous interpreting tasks (English and Chinese, both directions) on two specialised topics: Seabed Minerals (SM) and Fast Breeder Reactors (FR). I also collected data from focus groups to investigate the trainee interpreters’ views on the use of different procedures (and tools). Our results suggest that the preparation procedure using both the term extractor (Syllabs Tools) and the concordancer (Sketch Engine) yielded better preparation results compared with a traditional preparation procedure. It helped improve the trainee interpreters’ terminological performance during simultaneous interpreting by significantly increasing term accuracy scores by 7.5% and reducing the number of omission errors by 9.3%. On the other hand, terminology preparation (through using both the term extractor and the concordancer) is not a “magical cure” for all errors. Our data shows that the preparation procedure (and the tools) only helped to improve the students’ holistic SI scores by 2.8% (but not yielding any statistical significance). This thesis demonstrates that training on terminology preparation for technical meetings could be a useful supplement to the already existing professional interpreting training. It is important for both students and trainers to be aware that electronic tools, when used properly, can assist the interpreters’ terminology preparation and achieve an enhanced performance. It also offers directions for further research in the application of modern term extraction technology for conference interpreters.
Supervisor: Sharoff, Serge ; Peng, Gracie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available