Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2542-5277
  • E-ISSN: 2542-5285
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This study investigated cognitive aspects of sight translation by analysing the reading behaviour in the process and the output. In our empirical study, two groups of participants—interpreting trainees and untrained bilinguals—carried out three tasks: (a) silent reading, (b) reading aloud, and (c) sight translation. The results show that the two groups were almost identical in the first two tasks, further substantiating the similarity of their language command, but were drastically different in how they tackled sight translation. Interpreting trainees provided much more accurate, fluent, and adequate renditions with much less time and fewer fixations. However, their efficiency at information retrieval was statistically similar to that of the untrained bilinguals. Thus, interpreting trainees were more efficient by being more “economical” during reading, rather than by reading ahead faster, as some would intuitively expect. Chunking skills seem to have also been at play behind their remarkable performance.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Agrifoglio, Marjorie
    2004 “Sight Translation and Interpreting: A comparative analysis of constraints and failures.” Interpreting6 (1): 43–67. 10.1075/intp.6.1.05agr
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.6.1.05agr [Google Scholar]
  2. Angelelli, Claudia V.
    1999 “The Role of Reading in Sight Translation: Implications for teaching.” The ATA Chronicle28 (5): 27–30.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Biber, Douglas
    1991Variation across Speech and Writing. New York: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Biela-Wolonciej, Aleksandra
    2007 “A-Vista: New challenges for tailor-made translation types on the example of the recorded sight translation.” Kalbotyra57: 30–39. 10.15388/Klbt.2007.7555
    https://doi.org/10.15388/Klbt.2007.7555 [Google Scholar]
  5. Boomer, Donald S., and Allen T. Dittmann
    1962 “Hesitation Pauses and Juncture Pauses in Speech.” Language and Speech5 (4): 215–220. 10.1177/002383096200500404
    https://doi.org/10.1177/002383096200500404 [Google Scholar]
  6. Chafe, Wallace, and Jane Danielewicz
    1987 “Properties of Spoken and Written Language.” https://www.nwp.org/cs/public/download/nwp_file/142/TR05.pdf?x-r=pcfile_d. Accessed8 September 2016.
  7. Chang, Huei-Fang
    2008 “A Study on GITI Students’ ST Difficulty & Performance.” SPECTRUM: NCUE Studies in Language, Literature, Translation, and Interpretation (2): 61–83.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Chen, Jyun-Gwang
    2006Contrative Research & Crosslinguistic Influence. Taipei: Crane.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Chen, Wallace
    2015 “Sight translation.” InThe Routledge Handbook of Interpreting. Edited byH. Mikkelson and R. Jourdenais, 144–153. Abingdon: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Chiang, Heien-Kun, Feng-Lan Kuo, and Wei-Chun Chen
    2009 “Exploring Pausing Patterns in Two-way Sight Translation.” SPECTRUM: NCUE Studies in Language, Literature, Translation, and Interpretation (5): 155–167.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Chmiel, Agnieszka, and Iwona Mazur
    2013 “Eye Tracking Sight Translation Performed by Trainee Interpreters.” InTracks and Treks in Translation Studies. Edited byC. Way, S. Vandepitte, R. Meylaerts and M. Bartłomiejczyk, 189–205. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/btl.108.10chm
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.108.10chm [Google Scholar]
  12. Christoffels, Ingrid K., Annette M. B. de Groot, and Judith F. Kroll
    2006 “Memory and Language Skills in Simultaneous Interpreters: The role of expertise and language proficiency.” Journal of Memory and Language54 (3): 324–345. 10.1016/j.jml.2005.12.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2005.12.004 [Google Scholar]
  13. Christoffels, Ingrid K., Annette M. B. de Groot, and Lourens J. Waldorp
    2003 “Basic Skills in a Complex Task: A graphical model relating memory and lexical retrieval to simultaneous interpreting.” Bilingualism: Language and Cognition6 (3): 201–211. 10.1017/S1366728903001135
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728903001135 [Google Scholar]
  14. Ciobanu, Dragoș
    2016 “Automatic Speech Recognition in the Professional Translation Process.” Translation Spaces5: 124–144. 10.1075/ts.5.1.07cio
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ts.5.1.07cio [Google Scholar]
  15. Clifton, Charles, Fernanda Ferreira, John M. Henderson, Albrecht W. Inhoff, Simon P. Liversedge, Erik D. Reichle, and Elizabeth R. Schotter
    2016 “Eye Movements in Reading and Information Processing: Keith Rayner’s 40 year legacy.” Journal of Memory and Language86: 1–19. 10.1016/j.jml.2015.07.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2015.07.004 [Google Scholar]
  16. Daneman, Meredyth, and Patricia A. Carpenter
    1980 “Individual Differences in Working Memory and Reading.” Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior19 (4): 450–466. 10.1016/S0022‑5371(80)90312‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5371(80)90312-6 [Google Scholar]
  17. Diessel, Holger
    2004The Acquisition of Complex Sentences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511486531
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511486531 [Google Scholar]
  18. Dragsted, Barbara, and Inge Gorm Hansen
    2009 “Exploring Translation and Interpreting Hybrids. The case of sight translation.” Meta54 (3): 588–604. 10.7202/038317ar
    https://doi.org/10.7202/038317ar [Google Scholar]
  19. Dragsted, Barbara, Inger Margrethe Mees, and Inge Gorm Hansen
    2011 “Speaking Your Translation: Students’ first encounter with speech recognition technology.” Translation & Interpreting3 (1): 10–43.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Fernández, Eva M.
    2002 “Relative Clause Attachment in Bilinguals and Monolinguals.” InBilingual Sentence Processing. Edited byR. R. Heredia and J. Altarriba, 187–215. Amsterdam: North-Holland. 10.1016/S0166‑4115(02)80011‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0166-4115(02)80011-5 [Google Scholar]
  21. Frenck-Mestre, Cheryl
    2002 “An On-line Look at Sentence Processing in the Second Language.” InBilingual Sentence Processing. Edited byR. R. Heredia and J. Altarriba, 217–236. Amsterdam: North-Holland. 10.1016/S0166‑4115(02)80012‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0166-4115(02)80012-7 [Google Scholar]
  22. Frost, Ram
    2012 “Towards a Universal Model of Reading.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences35 (5): 263–279. 10.1017/S0140525X11001841
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X11001841 [Google Scholar]
  23. Grosjean, François
    2001 “The Bilingual’s Language Modes.” InOne Mind, Two Languages: Bilingual language processing. Edited byJ. L. Nicol, 1–22. Malden: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Her, Emily
    1997 “Binary Error Analysis of Sight Interpretation from English into Chinese and its Pedagogical Implications.” Studies of Interpretation and Translation2: 111–135.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Huang, Li-Shih
    2009 “The Potential Influence of L1 (Chinese) on L2 (English) Communication.” ELT Journal64 (2): 155–164. 10.1093/elt/ccp039
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccp039 [Google Scholar]
  26. International Medical Interpreters Association
    International Medical Interpreters Association 2009IMIA Guide on Sight Translation. www.imiaweb.org/uploads/pages/380_2.pdf. Accessed12 October 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. International Organization for Standardization
    International Organization for Standardization 2014Interpreting—Guidelines for Community Interpreting. https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:13611:ed-1:v1:en. Accessed12 October 2018.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Jiang, Wenying
    2009Acquisition of Word Order in Chinese as a Foreign Language. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110216196
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110216196 [Google Scholar]
  29. Li, Xiangdong
    2014 “Sight Translation as a Topic in Interpreting Research: Progress, problems, and prospects.” Across Languages and Cultures15 (1): 67–89. 10.1556/Acr.15.2014.1.4
    https://doi.org/10.1556/Acr.15.2014.1.4 [Google Scholar]
  30. Lykke Jakobsen, Arnt, and Kristian Tangsgaard Hvelplund Jensen
    2008 “Eye Movement Behaviour Across Four Different Types of Reading Task.” Copenhagen Studies in Language36: 103–124.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. McDonald, Janet L., and Patricia A. Carpenter
    1981 “Simultaneous Translation: Idiom interpretation and parsing heuristics.” Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior20 (2): 231–247. 10.1016/S0022‑5371(81)90397‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5371(81)90397-2 [Google Scholar]
  32. National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators
    National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators 2006Modes of Interpreting: Simultaneous, consecutive & sight translation. https://najit.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Modes_of_Interpreting200609.pdf. Accessed12 October 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. National Council on Interpreting in Health Care
    National Council on Interpreting in Health Care 2009Sight Translation and Written Translation: Guidelines for healthcare interpreters. https://www.ncihc.org/assets/documents/publications/Translation_Guidelines_for_Interpreters_FINAL042709.pdf. Accessed12 October 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Radach, Ralph, and Alan Kennedy
    2004 “Theoretical Perspectives on Eye Movements in Reading: Past controversies, current issues, and an agenda for future research.” European Journal of Cognitive Psychology16 (1–2): 3–26. 10.1080/09541440340000295
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09541440340000295 [Google Scholar]
  35. Rayner, Keith, Alexander Pollatsek, Jane Ashby, and Charles Clifton Jr.
    2012Psychology of Reading. 2nd ed.New York: Psychology Press. 10.4324/9780203155158
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203155158 [Google Scholar]
  36. Sampaio, Glória Regina Loreto
    2007 “Mastering Sight Translation Skills.” Tradução and Comunicação16: 63–69.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Shreve, Gregory M., Christina Schäffner, Joseph H. Danks, and Jennifer Griffin
    1993 “Is There a Special Kind of ‘Reading’ for Translation: An empirical investigation of reading in the translation process.” Target5 (1): 21–41. 10.1075/target.5.1.03shr
    https://doi.org/10.1075/target.5.1.03shr [Google Scholar]
  38. Shreve, Gregory M., Isabel Lacruz, and Erik Angelone
    2010 “Cognitive Effort, Syntactic Disruption, and Visual Interference in a Sight Translation Task.” InTranslation and Cognition. Edited byG. M. Shreve and E. Angelone, 63–84. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/ata.xv.05shr
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ata.xv.05shr [Google Scholar]
  39. Stubbs, Michael
    1983Discourse Analysis: The sociolinguistic analysis of natural language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Su, Wenchao, and Defeng Li
    2019 “Identifying Translation Problems in English-Chinese Sight Translation.” Translation and Interpreting Studies14 (1): 110–134. 10.1075/tis.00033.su
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tis.00033.su [Google Scholar]
  41. Tsai, Jie-Li, Chia-Ying Lee, Ovid J. L. Tzeng, Daisy L. Hung, and Nai-Shing Yen
    2004 “Use of Phonological Codes for Chinese Characters: Evidence from processing of parafoveal preview when reading sentences.” Brain and Language91 (2): 235–244. 10.1016/j.bandl.2004.02.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2004.02.005 [Google Scholar]
  42. Viaggio, Sergio
    1995 “The Praise of Sight Translation (and squeezing the last drop thereout of).” The Interpreters’ Newsletter6: 33–42.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Viezzi, Maurizio
    1989 “Information Retention as a Parameter for the Comparison of Sight Translation and Simultaneous Interpretation: An experimental study.” The Interpreters’ Newsletter2: 65–69.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Wang, Jia-yi, and Yan He
    2018 “How Effortful Are Interpreters in Translation Related Reading Tasks? An eye-tracking study.” Journal of Literature and Art Studies8 (10): 1497–1508.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Weber, Wilhelm K.
    1990 “The Importance of Sight Translation in an Interpreter Training Program.” InInterpreting: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Edited byD. Bowen and M. Bowen, 44–52. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/ata.iv.10web
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ata.iv.10web [Google Scholar]
  46. Willingham, Daniel T.
    2017The Reading Mind: A cognitive approach to understanding how the mind reads. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Yang, Chin Lung, Charles A. Perfetti, and Ying Liu
    2010 “Sentence Integration Processes: An ERP study of Chinese sentence comprehension with relative clauses.” Brain and Language112 (2): 85–100. 10.1016/j.bandl.2009.10.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2009.10.005 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error