Analysis of English-Chinese Interpretation from the Perspective of Cognitive Psychology

By Lü, Liangqiu; Gan, Shuang | Studies in Literature and Language, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Analysis of English-Chinese Interpretation from the Perspective of Cognitive Psychology


Lü, Liangqiu, Gan, Shuang, Studies in Literature and Language


Abstract

Listening, memorizing, transferring and reproducing are the four basic steps in the process of English-Chinese (E-C thereafter) interpretation. To successfully accomplish the interpretation process, the interpreter should act well through all these steps. This paper separately analyzes the steps of E-C interpretation from the perspective of cognitive psychology. Moreover, the analysis also suits for interpretation between another two languages, and it provides reference and guide for interpreters and learners.

Key words: Interpretation; Cognitive psychology; Process

INTRODUCTION

Interpretation is an oral communication of transferring one language to its equivalent or approximate equivalent in another language form. Seleskovitch & Lederer, representatives of interpretive theory, once pointed out that the interpreter must go through three stages: comprehension, deverbalization and expression, which means the interpreter not only need to understand the spoken words, but also comprehend the meaning under the words, then express it with straightforward words immediately. From the perspective of communications, interpretation is a process of information receptiondecoding-expressing. However, it is generally accepted that interpretation process is composed of the following four steps: listening, memorizing, transferring and reproducing. In the first step of E-C interpretation, it requires of the interpreter an acute hearing, accurate comprehension on English words. Memorizing step requires instant and active memory, high concentration, focuses on ideas instead of words and essential notetaking. Transferring step requires good command of English and Chinese and logical reorganization of ideas. Reproducing step requires clear and correct mandarin pronunciation and intonation.

Cognitive psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology exploring internal mental processes, including attention, memory, language processing, perception, problem solving and thinking. From the perspective of cognitive psychology, interpretation process of listeningmemorizing-transferring-reproducing can also be expressed as information perception-storing in memoryrecoding-expression. Separate analysis of the four step of E-C interpretation can also be expanded to the interpretation between another two languages, through which the interpreter can learn about mental processes during interpretation to conduct conscious interpretation and grasp the pattern and effort model, hence enhance the efficiency of interpretation. Moreover, the analysis can also benefit interpreters and learners by adding specialty to their training, and promote interpretation teaching model and its theoretical studies.

ANALYSIS OF E-C INTERPRETATION FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOG

Information Perception Step

Listening and Auditory Perception

Listening, the very beginning of interpretation is a process of information input. Sound information travels down the vestibulocochlear nerve, through intermediate stations being further processed and the information eventually reaches the thalamus, from where it is relayed to the cortex, therefore come into being the auditory sense in the human brain. Auditory perception begins when receptors are activated by stimuli in the environment. Receptors perceive the variation of acoustic wave, and form the auditory sense into meaning with the help of previous experience knowledge. Thus, auditory perception is a combined action of stimuli and previous experience.

Interpreter need to grasp information through numerous and complicated forms of discourse. So 'listen' is an active action which requires of interpreter percept auditory information with high concentration, then analyze them. To be specific, it means tone& pronunciation as well as communicative context should be paid attention to. Being the start step of interpretation, 'listening' lays the foundation for the following three steps and it directly decides the quality of whole interpretation. …

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