Лінгвістичні студії: Збірник наукових праць.

Iaroslava Balytsok — DECISION-MAKING UNDER THE CONDITIONS OF MULTIPLE CHOICE IN SIMULTANEOUS INTERPRETING

У статті розглядається вплив необхідності прийняття рішення щодо ефективності та адекватності
процесувиконаннясинхронного перекладу. Комбінаторні властивості будь-якої мови, необхідність
перекладацьких трансформацій, синонімія лексичних одиниць ускладнюють вибір рішення синхронного
перекладача стосовно обрання найбільш адекватного відповідника в умовах дефіциту часу та необхідності
прогнозувати наступний зміст вихідного повідомлення. Пропонуються методи зменшення кількості варіантів
перекладу на базі підходів визнаних українських та європейських науковців.
Ключові слова: перекладацька дія, спеціальна пам‘ять, прогнозування, вірний переклад, значеннєва
структура, підсвідомість, перекладацькі трансформації.

The problem of multiplicity of choice in simultaneous interpreting is very important in view of a number of
factors. The ACTUALITY of the article consists in the fact that the number of conference interpreters required is
exponentially growing while little scientific research has been conducted at present. The researchers in this field mostly
concur that time factor is determinant for the entire process of simultaneous interpreting. On this basis A. Shiryaev
conducts extensive study of «acts of interpreting» [Ширяев 1979: 76] which results in the following time estimates:
while the total time for an act of interpreting ranges from 1200 to 5000 milliseconds, it takes an interpreter about 2/3 of
this time to perform the phase of orientation and making up a decision (about the syntactical, lexical and grammatical
structure) – from 900 to 3600 milliseconds.
The second factor is the limited short-term memory span. H. Kohrs introduces the term of «ad hoc memory»
(working, intermediate) which virtually is the «time while information is consciously and without effort fully available»
[Kohrs 1977: 141]. This time is within the limit of 6-10 seconds and that is why it is of extreme importance to unburden
the ad hoc memory as soon as possible by making a quick and correct decision.
Thirdly, a simultaneous interpreter constantly checks the correctness of everything he has said before and this
predetermines what will be said later. And as far as “complete disambiguation is only possible at the end of the
sentence” [Kohrs 1977: 141], there is never a 100% certainty that the choice taken by the interpreter is “faithful”
[Корунець 2001: 391].
For the purposes of this research it is necessary to level out the complicated multidimensional structure of the
activity of simultaneous interpreter so that it becomes possible to operate with simple parameters. Theorists in
simultaneous interpretation point out four stages of an «act of interpreting». The uniformity of these and their
segmentation enables to analyze the act of simultaneous interpreting
Despite certain differences within the structure of the stages proper (that are of no relevance to the present
study), they are as follows:
Stage 1. Comprehension
Stage 2. “Taking decision” to interpret
Stage 3. Constructing the message in the TL
Stage 4. Self-correction [Максімов 2007: 196].
The nature of the second stage has not yet been discovered for the reason of its subconscious nature [Gile 2009:
248; Максімов 2007: 197]. It is described by S.E. Maksimov as a «red line» or a “turning point” [Максімов 2007: 197]
which takes place after anticipation of further speech unfolding and before Stage 3 takes place. An interpreter makes a
decision when “deciding that a visual or sound signal was produced as a physical representation of this or that word”
[Gile 2009: 248]. D. Gile also stresses that in human translation interpretation of a discourse is rather interpreted than
transcoded, especially when dealing with conditions of complicated communication (incorrect or clumsy source text,
speech defects of the speaker, lack of cohesion in his / her speech). In this case the interpreter shall use transformations
in order to perform a syntactically, lexically and grammatically correct (faithful) simultaneous interpreting of the
imperfect source text. We will return to this issue when dwelling upon the methods of solving the multiple choice
problem.
A. Shiryaev claims that anticipation takes place yet before the speaker starts to deliver his message. This
becomes possible when considering the general topic of the future message, the information and documents which may
be given to the interpreter for preparation purposes and experience gained by the interpreter from the communicative
situations in his previous professional life. We agree that this is a considerable contribution to the overall «tuning-in»
process and is presumably beneficial for management of attention and memory. But it is obvious that an accurate
forecast of what the speaker will say before he pronounces the first sound is too unlikely to take the pre-perception
© Balytsok Ya.M., 2012 Розділ V. АКТУАЛЬНІ ПРОБЛЕМИ ЗІСТАВНО-ТИПОЛОГІЧНОГО ВИВЧЕННЯ МОВ

57
anticipation as a trustworthy reference point. Therefore, we shall refer to the levels of anticipation suggested by
S.E. Maksimov: syllable, word, phrase, syntagma and a complete message [Максімов 2007: 198].
A. Shiryaev mentions the level of anticipation as the basis for an «interpreter‟s decision» [Ширяев 1979: 17]. If
the anticipation proves to be accurate (if the source message turns to be one of the forecasted variants), the translator
pronounces the variant, adjusting it to the structure of the source message. If otherwise, the interpreter faces the need to
search for another decision. We consider this necessity as one of the most time-consuming factor in the entire «act of
interpreting». Thus, in order to make time spending more efficient, unburden the ad hoc memory and increase the
―faithfulness‖ of the choice taken it is necessary to minimize the range of anticipated syllables, words, phrases,
syntagmes and complete messages.
One of the possible methods to tackle the problem of choice multiplicity in simultaneous interpreting is to make
use of set phrases, clichйs and historically established syntactical schemes [Gile 2009: 163]. Yet in 1948 it was noticed
by V.V. Vinogradov that “the majority of people speak and write with the help of ready-made formulae and clichйs”
[Виноградов 1948: 21]. A number of linguists pointed at the same trend and its impact upon the interpreter‟s
performance. We may assume that the notions determined by S.E. Maksimov as “automatic reaction” [Maksimov 2007:
35], H. Kohrs as “automatisation strategy” [Kohrs 1977: 133], A. Shiryaev as “previous professional experience”
[Ширяев 1979: 10] are virtually the same. They are embodied in the interpreter‟s background knowledge and
immediately influence the precision of anticipation.
For the purposes of disambiguation let us consider that a ready-made formulae is any faithful translation of a
speech message (a minimum phrase undergoing the four steps mentioned above) that already exists in the interpreter‟s
long-term memory and can be used without any or with minimum transformations. Interpreters deal with the
―meaningful structures‖, i. e. units of meaning which can be represented with a word combination, a sentence or even a
supersyntactical structure [Strang 1967: 73].
D. Gile elaborates the so-called “Effort System” listing the cognitive and practical complications for interpreting
performance [Gile 2009: 158]. These include the Listening and Analysis effort, Production effort and the Memory
effort. All of the three components can be juxtaposed with the notions of anaphoric, cataphoric and exophoric relations
suggested by S.E. Maksimov to be considered as contextual relationships which can facilitate the work of interpreter.
Anaphoric relations allow to fill in the gaps in the already-produced interpretation (this process is also termed as the
“reminiscence” [Maksymenko, Vasilchenko 1997: 141]). Cataphoric relations allow the anticipation of what will be
said next by the speaker. Exophoric relations refer to the background knowledge of an interpreter [Максімов 2007: 71].
We consider that the three Efforts set out by D. Gile can be respectively compared and equated to the system of
contextual relationships of S.E. Maksimov. Every effort sets the fundament for the relations:

The juxtaposition presented above may seem too simplistic, but for the purposes of the present research it
illustrates the three stages on which an interpreter faces the necessity to take a decision: whether or not to correct what
has been said before, whether to use this or another meaningful unit, whether to refer to this or another cultural
competence.
It should not be omitted that the choice of meaningful structures is further limited by the pragmatics of the
communicative situation and the personal stylistic slant of the speaker. Another problem is to find an equivalent
translation from the bulk of set phrases and syntactical formulae is to avoid language interference and linguistic calques
[Kohrs 1977: 133] including the “false friends” or “misleading words” [Максімов 2007: 135]. It can be resolved by
“training reconstructive instead of passive reproduction of information” [Maksymenko, Vasilchenko 1997: 141]. Here
we clash into the never-reconcilable discussion: which training technique is of primary importance in course of
professional training of simultaneous interpreters. It is outside the scope of the present article to discuss educational
methodology. None the less, we consider it within our responsibility to underscore the need to consider the problem that
can be formulated as follows: starting simultaneous interpreters fail to produce any (even the least appropriate)
Listening and Analysis
Effort
Anaphoric Relations
Production Effort
Memory Effort Exophoric Relations
Cataphoric Relations ЛІНГВІСТИЧНІ СТУДІЇ. Випуск 24

58
interpretation more often when they are confused by the variety of options, rather than when the source text is not
understood.
We understand that inserting the meaningful structures, already-interpreted and retained in long-term memory,
always takes place along with transformations.
Profound research has been conducted on the subject of transformations in translation and interpretation. In his
book on theory and practice of translation I.V. Korunets extensively dwells upon the most appropriate application of
transformations for certain linguistic units [Корунець 2001]. In “Practical Course of Translation” S.E. Maksimov
differentiates among Grammatical, Lexical and Semantic Transformations in translation [Максімов 2007: 115-121]. On
the other hand, V. Radchuk in his article on the nature of interpretation disaffirms the possibility to single out separate
categories of transformations (such as lexical, semantic or stylistic) because they never come in isolation. For the
purposes of the present article it suffices to stipulate the difference between motivated and non-motivated
transformations, the latter being caused by “insufficient interpretation of the original” [Радчук 1997: 80].
In spite of the fact that it is a common European practice to recruit simultaneous interpreters for working only
into their native languages, there is an opposite scientific approached initiated by G. Chernov. It was called the
―probabilistic prognosis theory‖ (or anticipation) and was based upon the assumption that interpreting into the
Language B consumes less time and effort. The statement was motivated by the fact that an interpreter has presumably
a better knowing of translational probabilities into an acquired language and a less range of synonymic choice.
We consider it necessary to make use of such differentiation here by virtue of the fact that the mere possibility of
transformations multiplies the already-manifold variety of choice for an interpreter’s decision. In the same article
V. Radchuk presents a list of 42 possible interpretations of the phrase ―I cannot sing‖ into Ukrainian.
Themostoutstandingexamplesinclude―Я не маю здатності до співу‖,―Я не в силах співати‖, ―Мені не по силі
співати‖, ―З мене ніякий співак‖. The examples illustrate that it is possible to conserve the general meaning of the
source text while transforming the form and style beyond recognition.
The considerations set out in this article can be schematically represented as follows:

The problems listed above seem to be impossible for practical analyzing on the basis of simultaneous
interpreting product. It shall be considered from the point of view of brain activity and therefore is the matter of
psycholinguistics and psychology. Decision-making in terms of linguistics shall be studied separately from such in
other professional domains of human activity: the range of choice linguistic means is less numerous and the probability
of an accurate forecast is higher by far. The PERSPECTIVE of such kind of a research can lead us to reform the whole
process of interpreters‟ training as well as the process of simultaneous interpreting itself. And bearing in mind that the
latter usually takes place on the level of international and intercultural representation we understand that such
reformation if of supreme importance for building peace and mutual understanding in the modern globalized world.

References
Виноградов 1948: Виноградов, В.В. Современный русский язык [Текст] / В. В. Виноградов. – М., 1948. –
381 с.
Корунець 2001: Корунець, І.В. Теорія і практика перекладу (аспектний переклад) : Підручник [Текст] /
І. В. Корунець. – Вінниця : «Нова Книга», 2001. – 448 с.
Максімов 2007: Максімов, С.Є. Усний двосторонній переклад (англійська та українська мови). Теорія та
практика усного двостороннього перекладу для студентів факультету перекладачів та факультету заочного та
вечірнього навчання (+2 компакт-диски) : Навчальний посібник. Видання друге, виправлене та доповнене
[Текст] / С. Є. Максімов. – К. : Ленвіт, 2007. – 416 с.
Максімов 2010: Максімов, С.Є. Практичний курс перекладу (англійська та українська мови). Теорія та
практика перекладацького аналізу тексту для студентів факультету перекладачів [Текст] / С. Є. Максімов. – К. :
Ленвіт, 2010. – 175 с.
D
E
C
I
S
I
O
N
Already-prepared
meaningful structure
Translation
transformation
Motivated
Non-
motivated
Professional
experience
Language-
specific set
expressions Розділ V. АКТУАЛЬНІ ПРОБЛЕМИ ЗІСТАВНО-ТИПОЛОГІЧНОГО ВИВЧЕННЯ МОВ

59
Радчук 1997: Радчук, В. Що таке інтерпретація? La Traduction au Seuil du XXle Siиcle : Histoire, Thйorie,
Mйthodologie [Текст] / O. Tchйrednytchenko (ed.). – Strasbourg-Florence-Grenade-Kyiv : Tempus-Tacis. – 1997. –
188 pp.
Ширяев 1979: Ширяев, А.Ф. Синхронный перевод : Деятельность синхронного переводчика [Текст] /
А. Ф. Ширяев.– М. : Воениздат, 1979. – 183 с.
Gile 2009: Gile, D. Basic Concepts and Models for Interpreter Training. Revised edition. Volume 8 [Text] /
D. Gile. – John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2009. – 287 pp.
Kohrs 1997: Kohrs, H. On the Role of Memory in Simultaneous Interpreting. La Traduction au Seuil du XXle
Siиcle : Histoire, Thйorie [Текст] / O. Tchйrednytchenko (ed.). – Strasbourg-Florence-Grenade-Kyiv : Tempus-Tacis. –
1997. – 188 pp.
Strang 1968: Strang, B.M.H. Modern English Structure [Text] / B. M. H. Strang. – London : Arnold, 1968. –
315 pp.
Vasylchenko, Maksimenko 1997: Vasylchenko, O., Maksimenko, O. Psychological and Linguistic Problems in
the Course of Training Interpreters for the Ukrainian Market. La Traduction au Seuil du XXle Siиcle : Histoire, Thйorie
[Text] / O. Tchйrednytchenko (ed.). – Strasbourg-Florence-Grenade-Kyiv : Tempus-Tacis. – 1997. – 188 pp.

Статья рассматривает влияние необходимости принятия решения относительно эффективности и
адекватности выполнения синхронного перевода. Комбинаторные свойства языка, необходимость
трансформаций, синонимия лексических единиц усложняют выбор синхронного переводчика наиболее
адекватного соответствия в условиях дефицита времени и необходимости прогнозировать последующее
содержание исходного сообщения. Предлагаются методы уменьшения вариантов перевода на базе подходов
признанных украинских и европейских ученых.
Ключевые слова: переводческое действие, специальная память, прогнозирование, верный перевод,
переводческие трансформации.

The article dwells upon how the need for decision-making influences the efficiency, adequateness and
successfulness of simultaneous interpreting. The combinatorial property of any language, inevitability of
transformations, synonymy of lexical units complicate the process of simultaneous interpreter‘s decision-making with
regard of choosing the most adequate option under the conditions of limited time and urge to anticipate the
forthcoming sense of the message. The article suggests a number of methods to cut down the number of interpretation
options on the basis of approaches of the renowned Ukrainian and European scholars.
Keywords: act of interpreting, ad hoc memory, anticipation, faithful translation, transformations in translation.
Надійшла до редакції 27 жовтня 2011 року.

Категорія: Лінгвістичні студії: Збірник наукових праць.

Літературне місто - Онлайн-бібліотека української літератури. Освітній онлайн-ресурс.