Errors, omissions and infelicities in broadcast interpreting

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Recordings and transcripts of simultaneous interpretation outputs of President Obama’s inaugural speech as broadcast by TV stations in French, German and Japanese were scrutinized and analyzed for errors, omissions and infelicities in an investigation of cognitive saturation and language-pair specific difficulties. Inter alia, it was found that many misinterpreted or omitted source-speech micro-units were simple and non-technical and that there were more errors and omissions in the Japanese renderings than in either the German or French renderings. Findings also suggest that there may be different interpreting styles in terms of preference given to language correctness versus information completeness. All these are consistent with the tightrope hypothesis, according to which interpreters tend to work close to cognitive saturation, which also makes language-specific and language-pair specific idiosyncrasies relevant parameters in the interpreting process. Findings also suggest that simple methodology and naturalistic studies can make valuable contributions in Interpreting Studies.


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