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Durham e-Theses
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Note-taking in consecutive interpreting: An empirical study drawing on eye-tracking, pen-recording, and voice-recording data

KUANG, HUOLINGXIAO (2022) Note-taking in consecutive interpreting: An empirical study drawing on eye-tracking, pen-recording, and voice-recording data. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 10 January 2026.


This empirical study provides a systematic investigation into the process of note-taking, the product of note-taking, and the process of note-reading, in remotely-conducted and video-mediated consecutive interpreting. With an eye-tracking and pen-recording approach, this investigation collects data from 29 student interpreters and 20 professional interpreters, in an experiment containing four English-to-Chinese interpreting segments with two levels of task difficulty.
The project, firstly, examines the effects of interpreter work experience and source speech difficulty on the process and product of note-taking. Results show that the experience and difficulty effects are mainly found in the overt visual attention that the participants pay to the notes and the physical effort of note-writing. These effects are less detected in the cognitive effort, temporal management or note choices during note-taking. In addition, the participants’ note-taking effort is affected by their distorted perception of interpreting difficulty, which is caused by the different sequences of interpreting segments. Secondly, by combining visualization tools of eye-tracking such as heat maps with fixation-related measures, this study identifies a group-based processing pattern and a high level of cognitive load during the process of note-reading. Thirdly, it discovers a positive relationship between the average effort of taking a note and that of reading a note. Meanwhile, it finds a trade-off between various note forms (full words vs. abbreviations) and note languages (Chinese vs. English) in the cognitive effort of note-taking and that of note-reading. Lastly, by looking into the complex associations between the participants’ note-taking behaviour and interpreting performance, it finds that, compared with the note-taking process, the note-reading process is more closely related to interpretation quality. In addition, note quantity is positively correlated with the interpreters’ interpreting scores in the easy segments of interpreting, but not in the difficult ones. These findings provide pragmatic implications for interpreting practice and interpreter training.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Note-taking process and product, note-reading process, eye-tracking, pen-recording, interpreter work experience, source speech difficulty
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Jan 2023 09:36

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