Language processing is a complex interaction of a wide range of factors and one of the most difficult tasks involved in language processing is to do simultaneous interpreting in a foreign language. This study will describe an experiment in which the writer herself experienced the job of a simultaneous interpreter in order to gain insights into the language processing in L2 and to reflect on the difficulties in L2 processing encountered by the simultaneous interpreter.
Background of literature
Different models have been developed to explain the complexity of speech processing, of which Levelt’s speaking blueprint (1993) presented below has become ‘the most complete and accepted one for a monolingual speaker’ (De Bot, Lowie & Verspoor
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Paradis (2004) summarized the neuro-linguistic processes which take place during simultaneous interpreting with reference to his ‘subset hypothesis’ stating that “the bilingual’s and thus the interpreter’s two languages are characterised as subsystems of language competence”, which is viewed by Paradis as ‘part of and different from the larger cognitive system’. The simultaneous interpreter therefore has to process concurrent cognitive tasks. Smith (2000) agreed upon specific difficulties of the simultaneous interpreting when the interpreter has to pay his attention to both form and meaning. De Bot (2000) claims that the effect of language proficiency, limited attentional resources, and anticipation are all attributed to the quality of the interpreter’s rendered contents.
The researcher herself is the only participant in this experiment. She has a BA in pedagogy and an MA in teaching methodology in Vietnam. She prepared two tape recorders and a written text in her Vietnamese first language. (see Appendix II)
Procedures: The researcher slowly read the L1 text out loud, while it was being taped. Then, the tape was played while the researcher tried translating the recording of the spoken text into English. This was taped again by another tape recorder in order to be able to analyse her English translation