Authors:Katarzyna Stachowiak-Szymczak and Paweł Korpal
Simultaneous interpreting is a cognitively demanding task, based on performing several activities concurrently (Gile 1995; Seeber 2011). While multitasking itself is challenging, there are numerous tasks which make interpreting even more difficult, such as rendering of numbers and proper names, or dealing with a speaker's strong accent (Gile 2009). Among these, number interpreting is cognitively taxing since numerical data cannot be derived from the context and it needs to be rendered in a word-to-word manner (Mazza 2001). In our study, we aimed to examine cognitive load involved in number interpreting and to verify whether access to visual materials in the form of slides increases number interpreting accuracy in simultaneous interpreting performed by professional interpreters (N = 26) and interpreting trainees (N = 22). We used a remote EyeLink 1000+ eye-tracker to measure fixation count, mean fixation duration, and gaze time. The participants interpreted two short speeches from English into Polish, both containing 10 numerals. Slides were provided for one of the presentations. Our results show that novices are characterised by longer fixations and they provide a less accurate interpretation than professional interpreters. In addition, access to slides increases number interpreting accuracy. The results obtained might be a valuable contribution to studies on visual processing in simultaneous interpreting, number interpreting as a competence, as well as interpreter training.