An Eye-Tracking Study of Note-Taking Practices in English-Chinese Consecutive Interpretation
英中逐步口譯筆記閱讀歷程之眼動研究：專家與新手之別 An Eye-Tracking Study of Note-Taking Practices in English-Chinese Consecutive Interpretation
Eye tracking has been an important research method in the field of psychology for decades. Through eye tracking, the researcher can monitor and record the subjects’ eye movements in a relatively natural setting so as to gain a deeper understanding of the subjects’ physiological responses and corresponding cognitive activities when performing a specific task (Lee, 2007). Similar efforts have been made in the field of interpreting studies, where research on the interpreter’s cognitive loading in performing sight translation (ST) and simultaneous interpretation (SI) has emerged and gained momentum since the 1980s. Consecutive interpretation (CI), however, seems to be an exception as no researcher has attempted to apply eye-tracking to the study of CI or CI note-taking, for that matter. One possible explanation for such absence may have to do with the fact that CI notes tend to be highly personal, varying from one interpreter to another in terms of the specific content, layout, format and language choice of the notes, and are inevitably influenced by factors such as the language pairs and types of discourses in question. However, such an omission prevents the teaching of CI and CI note-taking from gaining a solid empirical foundation, and leaves CI education contingent upon the instructor’s personal experiences, whether as a former interpreter trainee or a fully fledged practitioner. This study aims to apply eye-tracking to verify the validity of a couple of CI note-taking principles introduced in most CI related literature: 1. A vertical layout of the notes is preferable to a horizontal one, and 2. Notes are preferably taken in the target language than in the source language. It is hoped that this research will help to proffer empirical evidence for the instruction of CI note-taking and at the same time to shed light on the cognitive loading of deciphering CI notes.