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Expectations vs. experience: Attitudes towards video remote conference interpreting

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The attitudes of interpreters providing video remote conference interpreting during the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ was analyzed using a mixed-methods approach. Quantitative and qualitative data pertaining to six deductive categories (general and specific attitudes towards remote interpreting, attitudes towards the work environment and the workspace, psychological and physiological wellbeing) were collected. Online questionnaires were completed both before and after the event and structured interviews were conducted on site during the event. Triangulation of results corroborates the technical feasibility of video remote interpreting, whilst highlighting aspects with a high potential to shape interpreters’ attitudes towards it. The quality of the technical team on site along with the availability of visual input in the entire conference room (including all speakers taking the floor) is key to offsetting the feeling of alienation or lack of immersion experienced by interpreters working with this technical setup. Suggestions for the improvement of key parameters are provided.
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 
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     
 
          
            
         
            
        
           
          
Online questionnaires available from https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.00030.see.additional
https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.00030.see
Interpreting 21:2 (2019), pp. 270–304. issn 1384-6647 |eissn 1569-982x
© John Benjamins Publishing Company
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           
         
           
          
          
            
             

          
            
           
           
             
           
          
          
        
    and       
           
          
          
            
              
          
          
          
           
         
          
 
            
         
         
          
            
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          
     
          
           
          
           
            
          
          

           
        
           
            
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              
           
            
            
               
           
          
            
           
          
            
           

            
              
         
            
          
            
          
              
          
           
             
            
            
             
           
         
            
         
           

         
              
          
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           
           
            
             
         
          
           
           
              
           
           
         
          
          
           
          
               
             
             
            
         
           
            
          
         
               
          
         
             
           
                
           
            
           
            
           
           
               
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          
          
           
            
          
           
          
            
           
           
             
            
           
            
          
           
 
          
           
         
              
            
         
            
            

          
             
              
          
             
            
             
            
            
         
        
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              
           
            
           
         
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           
             
         
         
            
            
             
            
         

 
         
           
           
          
          
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         
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          
         
          
         
          
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          
        
           
          
         
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         
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           
        
          
 
 
           
            
           
          
  
          n  
       M SD    
   M SD      

          n
         M
SD       M SD   

        n  
       M SD    
   M SD      

       
           
      n      
  M SD     
M SD
 
            
             
           
         
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  
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           
          
             
            
    
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              

              
       n         
           
     
             
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                
             
            
               
               
             
             
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 
           
              
          
       
            
          
            

         
            
             
           
            
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          
              
           
         
              
           
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               
             
           
             
             
             
           
           
             
               
            
            
            
           
             
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  
 
             
            
               
        
          
            
          
           
     
 
         
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  
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  
 
 
          
     technophilia index      
            
          M SD 
       M SD   
           
          
           
             
             
          
 M SD           
   M SD        
       M SD    
        
 M SD         M
SD         
      M SD     
   M SD        M
SD           

         
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           
            
            
             “I think
interpreting is about brains, but it’s about emotions as well. And its really hard to ‘feel
it’ in you, when you’re not in the same room.       
            
           
             
             
               
          
             
            
            
         “I felt I was part of
the event but calmer in a way since I wasn’t part of all the tension involved in the
live broadcast. I feel this made my job easier.     
          
               
             

           
            
   “Not something that you like, something that you
live with and bear with.         
          
          
         
           
          
             

             
           
            
         
           
            
            
 
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              

 
                
          
         
           
               
     It’s one of the reasons I love interpreting so
much, because I get to see the world and sometimes just get some time o from
the kids, from the house, from everything!”      
              
 “Especially if you have a family, it’s good to be home in the evening. 
           
         
           
           
    M SD     
  M SD        
            
             
             
M SD           
    M SD     
               
             
             
                
          
             
               
  
            
            
             
           M
SD    M SD     
             
         
© 2019. John Benjamins Publishing Company
All rights reserved
   
 
   
SD    
  
              
           
   M SD         
  M SD      
           
           
           
            

   
 
   
SD    
  
            
            
            
           
            

 
        
     
            
         
            
        M SD  
           
           
 
© 2019. John Benjamins Publishing Company
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            
           
           
      M SD   
        
            
     
  
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 
        
          
          
              

        
               
              
               
           
               
             
           
             
             
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 Mobility, safety and security
         
           
           
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             
          
             
              
          
           
           
           
            
             
       Ok  perfect   
           
           
           

 Amenities, work schedule and down time
           
           
           
           
         
            
              
         
            
              
         
              
            
            
            
            
           
 
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    “rat race      easy”  
               
         M SD  
    M SD     
           
        
          

  
 Expectations
           
           
          
            
     “I was hoping for something better than
South Africa though – it couldn’t get much worse!”      
            
  I had high expectations because I talked to colleagues who worked for
the Confederations Cup last year and they were really pleased” 
            
          
           
           
            
              
          
              
           M
SD          
            
            
            
             
             
          
            
          
            
         
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               
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          
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 SD
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 SD
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SD
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
 Actual experience, likes and dislikes
            
          
           
               
           
           
              
           
            
             
            
            

         
            
      very good  brilliant  fantasticIf you
look at a screen, at the image quality, it’s great, technology is great, sound is great,
everything’s great. You see people, maybe even better than if you were there in the
conference room.          
           
 
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 
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SD



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    
 

     
              

            

  
 
 
  
  


   “It was absolutely perfect. ese guys are like guardian angels.
             
 M SD           
M SD
           
            
              
              
            

           
            
            
             
 “Perhaps we could have a word and say, could you please slow down, or
give us the paper. But we don’t have access to that person.   
              
         “ere’s one thing that I don’t like.
When we are “live”, the technicians are always around us, seeing if its OK and the
microphone is here. Here we don’t have that at all.
         
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         

          
           
           

           
            
         
             

         
           
           
          
            
“You can’t really turn it towards you so you’re looking at it at a strange angle [….].
            
          
           

  
           
              
         
           
    My other colleagues that I hadn’t met, from
abroad, were all very welcoming also. It was very nice. at helped.
         
    “takes you by surprise”   real handicap“makes
you feel uncomfortable and uncertain.       
             
            
    “You don’t know who is throwing the question at
whom. I mean that’s the worst.
            
                
 
© 2019. John Benjamins Publishing Company
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     
    
           
           
             
  
               
             
             
           
     
            
          
               
    
            
          
  “It’s simply a high-level meeting with the associated levels of stress.
It wouldn’t be dierent than a Prime Minister speaking in-situ.  
            
 “If I did this for a whole day – a 6–7 hour day – I would be able to tell
you ‘no, it was much worse’, but as we do 20 minutes and stop for 3 hours and watch
a football game, etc. and come back, I would tell you that my opinion is ‘no, its not
more stressful.
            
            
             
          
           
            
          
            
         
           
          
 Being there
          
           
           
           
         
© 2019. John Benjamins Publishing Company
All rights reserved
            
     proximity index    
    
          distance index 
    
    
           
             
 When you can feel the environment, the ambience – well we don’t have that. It’s
reallycoldandit’s reallyremote.(…) Ithinkthat doesinuenceour work.
  
 
  
  

             
              
         
      extremely     
M SD 
 
           
             
  “To be frank, I wouldn’t use RI. But if it’s inevitable, this is as good
as it gets, I guess.       

            
            
 “I think it’s better to be here and not at home, because at least we still have
contact with colleagues. If I was alone at home in my living room, then it would be
over for me. Here at least we have an exchange among ourselves, we exchange expe-
riences. You still have the impression that you’re at a conference. If I was at home,
that would be really alienating for me.      
   “e team can be together. We can consult each other, sup-
port each other.
 
© 2019. John Benjamins Publishing Company
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        
 should            
       would    
            
            
           
           
M SD 
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 
           
            
           
              

          
            
            
          
       
   
             
              
           
            
              
         
           
           
             
         
       
           
            
      
           
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          
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         
              
            
            

              
             
           

 
         
            
            
           
              
            
             
             
           
         

          
         
            
              
            
           
           
          
           
          
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            
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            
           
            
              
            
          
         
         
              
            
               
           

 
          
             
              
              
            
           
  
          
            
           
           
          
          
              
       
  
         
             
               
           
            
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            
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          
          
          
  
  
 
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          
           
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         
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             
           
           
          
              
               
          
         
           
       
         
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         
          
            
         
         
             
           
           
           
            
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        
             
         
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            
            
          
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          
          
            
           
            
           
             
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           
              
            
          
            
          
             
            
          
            
          
             
         
           
          
  

             
             
              
            
              
               

 
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    
 MIS Quarterly 24 
https://doi.org/10.2307/3250951
    

    
 Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare 11
https://doi.org/10.1258/1357633053688679
  From Paris to Nuremberg: e birth of conference interpreting
  https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.111
  
 Interpreting 15 
https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.15.2.03bra
       e Routledge
handbook of interpreting  
    Advances in videoconferencing and interpreting in legal proceedings
 
   Shiken: JALT Testing & Evaluation
SIG Newsletter 15 
        Cyber
Psychology and Behavior 6  https://doi.org/10.1089/109493103322725469
  
    Linking up with video: Perspectives on interpreting practice
and research  
     Annual Review of Psychology 57
 https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.57.102904.190034
  Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches
 
  ̈̈  
     Changing views: Worlds in play 

  
    
 Practical assessment, research and evaluation 15 
   Medical Education 38
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.13652929.2004.02012.x
       
 Journal of Telemedicine
and Telecare 9 https://doi.org/10.1258/135763303321159701
    
     
 Journal of General Internal Medicine 25 
https://doi.org/10.1007/s116060091236x
   

         
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  
 Communicate!  
 
    
 Meta 50  https://doi.org/10.7202/011014ar
   Interpreting 1 
 https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.1.1.03mou
  
Communicate!   
  
Interpreting 8  https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.8.1.04mou
       
 
 Patient Education and Counseling 87 
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2011.08.006
    
 Interpreting 12 
https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.12.2.05roz
      
Routledge handbook of interpreting  
    
  e handbook of translation and cognition  
 https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119241485.ch25
  A teleconference experiment. A report on the experimental use of the
Symphonie satellite to link UNESCO Headquarters in Paris with the Conference Centre in
Nairobi  
      
 European Journal of Social Psychology 28
https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)10990992(199801/02)28:1<23::AIDEJSP843>3.0.CO;2Z

 
 





 
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              
             
           
             
    International Journal of Bilingualism     

             
            
            
           
          

             
             
             
              
             

              
            
           
              
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         
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... There are some interpreters, however, whose views about remote interpreting are more positive, as found in a study of experienced conference interpreters who worked via video link for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and expressed a favourable attitude towards VRI (Seeber et al. 2019). Notably, these interpreters worked in booths with optimal working conditions, as they would in a regular conference, and they had interpreted in the same way for the previous world cup. ...
Article
Remote interpreting has traditionally been the less preferred option when compared to face-to-face interpreting. But the recent pandemic has shifted the landscape, making remote interpreting the default in many, if not most, settings. Improved videoconferencing technologies have facilitated this transition. The main question is whether remote interpreting has any impact on interpreter performance, including interpreting accuracy. This article presents the results of an experimental study that compared the performance of 103 qualified interpreters in three language combinations (English + Arabic, Mandarin and Spanish) in three conditions (face-to-face vs video remote vs audio remote interpreting) in the context of simulated police interviews. The interpreters’ preferences and perceptions were elicited and analysed, and their performance assessed by independent trained raters using detailed marking criteria. The results showed no significant differences between face-to-face and video interpreting, but significant decrements in audio remote interpreting performance. More than one-third of the interpreters perceived remote interpreting as being more difficult due to technological challenges. No differences emerged between the language groups on any measure.
... В ряде недавних исследований обозначено в целом положительное отношение к некоторым конфигурациям дистанционного перевода как опытных конфренц-переводчиков (VRI-mono / dia-SI [Seeber, 2019]), так и переводчиков, работающих в социальных ситуациях (public service VRImono / dia-SI / CO [Corpas Pastor et al., 2020, p. 73]). Новые возможности для поиска заказов, более комфортные условия для эффективной работы, расширение доступа к услугам профессионалов -всё это плюсы работы в дистанционном режиме. ...
Article
The article presents a review of the current state of research on distance interpreting (DI), which is defined as information and communication technology-enabled interpreting. The relevance of this study is associated with the rapid development and dissemination of remote interpreting technology fuelled by the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It discusses DI taxonomy and examines terminology used to refer to various DI modalities in academic and professional discourse. Names of DI services used on the websites of the major Russia’s language service providers are also discussed. The study shows that both Russian and English terminology used in the field of DI is varied and lacks stability. The article presents a short review of theoretical and methodological approaches applied in the key English-language studies of telephone interpreting, videoconference interpreting, and remote simultaneous and consecutive interpreting in different social contexts. The author pays attention to the results of a variety of studies, and describes the categories of “presence”, adaptation and multisensory integration that are essential to the interpretation of translation strategies and the nature of stress caused by DI.
... In a different communication setting (in terms of speech duration, language regime, relay practice, etc.), Seeber et al. (2019) conducted a study that aimed at analysing the expectations and attitude of interpreters toward video remote conference interpreting during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The methodology included the use of two questionnaires (before and after the event) plus a series of interviews during the event. ...
Article
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Remote interpretation technology is developing extremely fast, enabling affordable and instant access to interpreting services worldwide. This paper focuses on the subjective perceptions of public service interpreters about the psychological and physical impact of using remote interpreting, and the effects on their own performance. To this end, a survey study has been conducted by means of an on-line questionnaire. Both structured and unstructured questions have been used to tap into interpreters’ view on technology, elicit information about perceived effects, and identify pitfalls and prospects.
... The interpreters' own perceptions of RI have also been found to vary, for example in relation to the setting, the technical quality and configuration, the location of the interpreter relative to the participants, the modality of interpreting and other factors (Braun 2018(Braun , 2020Braun, Davitti, and Dicerto 2018;Brunson 2018;Devaux 2017;Iglesias and Ouellet 2018;Koller and Pöchhacker 2018;Moser-Mercer 2003;Roziner and Shlesinger 2010;Seeber et al. 2019). Regarding the modality, questions have been raised about the suitability of telephone interpreting (TI) in view of the lack of visual cues, which are normally highlighted as being crucial in the context of interpreting. ...
Chapter
Remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) draws on Information and Communication Technologies to facilitate multilingual communication by connecting conference interpreters to in-presence, virtual or hybrid events. Early solutions for RSI involved interpreters working in interpreting booths with ISO-standardised equipment. However, in recent years, cloud-based solutions for RSI have emerged, with innovative Simultaneous Interpreting Delivery Platforms (SIDPs) at their core, enabling RSI delivery from anywhere. SIDPs recreate the interpreter’s console and work environment (Braun 2019) as a bespoke software/videoconferencing platform with interpretation-focused features. Although initial evaluations of SIDPs were conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic (e.g., DG SCIC 2019), research on RSI (booth-based and software-based) remains limited. Pre-pandemic research shows that RSI is demanding in terms of information processing and mental modelling (Braun 2007; Moser-Mercer 2005), and suggests that the limited visual input available in RSI constitutes a particular problem (Mouzourakis 2006; Seeber et al. 2019). Besides, initial explorations of the cloud-based solutions suggest that there is room for improving the interfaces of widely used SIDPs (Buján and Collard 2021; DG SCIC 2019). The experimental project presented in this paper investigates two aspects of SIDPs: the design of the interpreter interface and the integration of supporting technologies. Drawing on concepts and methods from user experience research and human-computer interaction, we explore what visual information is best suited to support the interpreting process and the interpreter-machine interaction, how this information is best presented in the interface, and how automatic speech recognition can be integrated into an RSI platform to aid/augment the interpreter’s source-text comprehension.
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In court interpreting, what it is said and how it is said are equally important in face-to-face settings. However, little is known about the views on the content and the form of the interpreted utterances in remote settings. Drawing on questionnaires collected from Australian professional court interpreters, this study investigated the perceptions, views, and professional decisions related to the reproduction of speech style and other linguistic features in remote interpreting. Mode of interpreting and condition of video and audio-only interpreting were compared. The NVivo software was used to analyze qualitative data collected from questionnaires. The findings revealed that speech style and discourse markers have implications for the accuracy of court interpreting in remote circumstances. Most of the respondents held favourable views on rendering stylistic features while interpreting remotely.
Chapter
This chapter provides a brief outline of language technologies applied to translation and interpreting with a view to identifying challenges and research opportunities. Section 1 covers new trends within the automation of processes, the integration of language technologies in translators and interpreters’ workflows and industry demands. Section 2 moves on to other relevant technology-based resources for oral and written mediation, including new types of corpora for interpreting, computer-assisted interpreting tools (CAI) or cloud interpreting, among others. Section 3 delves into the concept of ‘tech-savviness’ and adoption of technology among language service providers (LSPs). Final thoughts are presented as a conclusion in Section 4.
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As Covid19 spread around the world causing national lockdowns, millions of school and university students had to continue their studies in distance mode. The unplanned shift to online learning turned out to be a challenge to educators in many fields, the most problematic spheres being those that conventionally rely on face-to-face interactions. University programs in interpreting were among the worst affected ones as interpreter training requires conference equipment, direct tutor guidance and long hours of individual and group work. Adapting a graduate course in consecutive interpreting to the online format highlighted a number of methodological issues and curriculum limitations related to the specifics of the digital learning environment. Following a case-study design, this paper presents an in-depth analysis of positive and negative factors of mid-term transition to distant mode in interpreter training with a special emphasis on methodological and technological aspects of synchronous online teaching. In exploring the efficiency of the new format, the study relies on a threephase research procedure developed to monitor the transition process on the basis of pre-start screening, progress tracking and final evaluation data. The set of methods and tools employed to obtain and analyze research data includes student questionnaires, regular class observations, student self-assessment reports, open discussions and retrospective protocols. The study uses qualitative analysis in order to gain insights into advantages and disadvantages of the new format and assess its application perspectives. The findings suggest for a blended model and a need for developing the concept of digital didactics.
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In this chapter, the author highlights the research dealing with professional translator and interpreter experiences and roles. This research type explores the dimensions related to professional translator and interpreter perceived competences, uses of particular work tools, and their work difficulties and roles. The author provides an overview of the following four areas of this research: (a) translator and interpreter use of technology; (b) correlates of translator/interpreter competence; (c) profiling translator practices; and (d) profiling interpreter experiences and roles in different fields. In the sections covering these areas, the author reviews the studies representing each, and explains the research methods used. It is generally noted that the larger part of this research type has been concerned with exploring interpreter practices and roles. The chapter ends with highlighting the gaps that remain to be addressed in professional translator and interpreter experience research.
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This chapter discusses the potential processing benefits and tradeoffs of multimodal processing in simultaneous interpreting. This discussion is intended to contribute to a better understanding of the cognitive processes underlying different simultaneous interpreting scenarios, such as interpreting with auditory input only as well as with different types of visual input. The notion that simultaneous interpreting is a complex cognitive task is relatively well established and accepted by scholars from within and outside the discipline of translation and interpreting studies. The cognitive resource footprint and the cognitive load model for simultaneous interpreting reflect the different dimensions of Wickens’ multiple resource model and are thus able to accommodate the multicue or multimodal nature of the comprehension process in simultaneous interpreting. The cognitive resource footprint represents the processing stages and codes as well as the response types and modalities of the original model, and complements it with the notion of the general capacity pool described by Wickens.
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The development of communication technologies such as telephony, videoconferencing and web-conferencing in interpreter-mediated communication has led to alternative ways of delivering interpreting services. Several uses of these technologies can be distinguished in connection with interpreting. 'Remote interpreting' in the narrow sense often refers to their use to gain access to an interpreter in another location, but similar methods of interpreting are required for interpreting in virtual meetings in which the primary participants themselves are distributed across different sites. In spite of their different underlying motivations, these methods of interpreting all share elements of remote working from the interpreter's point of view and will therefore be subsumed here under one heading. Although the practice of remote interpreting (in all its forms) is controversial among interpreters, the last two decades have seen an increase in this practice in all fields of interpreting. As such, it has also caught the attention of scholars, who have begun to investigate remote interpreting, for example, with a view to the quality of the interpreter's performance and a range of psychological and physiological factors. This chapter will begin by explaining the key terms and concepts associated with remote interpreting and then give an overview of the historical development and current trends of remote interpreting in supra-national institutions, legal, healthcare and other settings, referring to current and emerging practice and to insights from research. This will be followed by the presentations of recommendations for practice and an outlook at future directions of this practice and for research.
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Four studies investigated differences in accessibility of affective and cognitive components of attitudes. Accessibility was measured by response times on bipolar semantic differential evaluative adjectives (e.g. ‘positive–negative’) in response to how one felt and thought, respectively, about an attitude object. The evaluative items were accompanied by affective and cognitive context items, which were not analysed, but were meant to promote the retrieval of affective and cognitive evaluations respectively. Responses to affective evaluations were given faster than responses to cognitive evaluations, suggesting that affect-based evaluations are more accessible in memory than cognition-based evaluations. The results were obtained in two attitude domains, i.e. brand names and countries. The results support the validity of a two-component affect–cognition model of attitude. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.