(1982, p. 149, quoted in Al-Khanji et al., 2000, pp. 549-550), on the other hand maintains that SI involves three phases:
1. The listening to another person element, which comes first both logically and chronologically, the raw material the interpreter gathers and from which he devises his output.
2. Where the problem lies, what exactly happens? How is it done? The interpreter’s business is not words but ideas or message elements. Only in the most elementary cases can simultaneous interpretation be conceived as a simple transposition of source-language utterances. The interpreter is continually involved in evaluating, filtering and editing (information, not words) in order to make sense of the incoming message and to ensure that his output, too, makes sense.
3. The active form of spontaneous speech. He clarifies that in phase 2, simultaneous interpretation differs radically from the familiar processes of spontaneous speech where he gives verbal form to our own thoughts, while the message the interpreter handles comes from an outside source; the interpreter is attending to two different activities at the same time and must pay attention to the incoming message and also give conscious and critical attention to his own speech output.
The high level of mental demand, interestingly dubbed as “mental gymnastics” by Al-Khanji et al. (2000, p. 550), imposed on the interpreter as a result of the linguistic, communicative, and cognitive operations involved makes it almost impossible for a single interpreter to carry on interpreting non-stop for a long time. Thus it is common practice for more than one interpreter (at least two) to sit in the booth and take it in turn to interpret segments of the speech. Normally the segments interpreted at a go by one interpreter are not longer than thirty minutes (Lambert, 1992; Klonowicz, 1994; Chernov, 2004; Lambert, 2004). Therefore at any given point in time, there is one active interpreter (the one who is interpreting), and at least one passive interpreter, who remains in the booth, preparing themselves for the next segment, helping the active interpreter if the need to do so arises.
As far as teaching SI is concerned, Seleskovitch (1999, p. 57) writes:
The teaching of genuine simultaneous interpretation was introduced as early as 1950 at the State Department in Washington for the training of Marshall Plan interpreters, and a little later at the École d’interprètes in Geneva and at HEC in Paris.
As far back as then, the controversy over the (im)possibility of teaching SI prevailed. Some practitioners believed that interpreting was based on some kind of innate gift that could not be taught. The saying was ‘interpreters are born, not made’. The opponents of this view, nevertheless, did not rule out the importance of an inherent aptitude and admitted that talent is not teachable. Yet, they argued that even naturally gifted students had much to learn that could be taught. (Seleskovitch, 1999)
2.2.2 Consecutive Interpreting
Consecutive interpretation, as one of the “two basic types of interpretation used today,” (Kim, 2006, p. 248) “consists in translating a 10 to 15-minute speech after it has been delivered by the speaker” (Fabbro & Gran, 1994, p. 296). “In the early 1950s, consecutive was the main interpreting method.” (Seleskovitch, 1999, p. 57) Unlike in simultaneous interpretation, here the interpreter sits or stands near the speaker(s). Notwithstanding exceptions such as “A. Kaminker, who never took any notes, even for speeches of 20 minutes and more and yet was claimed to be ‘word perfect’,” (Seleskovitch, 1999, p. 57) given the length of the stretch of speech to be interpreted at a go (normally 10-15 minutes, but may vary according to the speaker, the conditions, etc.), the interpreter needs to make use of a technique called ‘note-taking’.
This is reflected in Choi’s (1999, quoted in Kim, 2006, p. 248) definition of CI: “the method in which the interpreter listens to the speaker, takes note of the contents, and when the speaker pauses, directly conveys the speech in the first person as if making the speech him/herself.”
Though not as challenging as SI, CI, too, seems to be a demanding task requiring robust training. This can be seen in Ribas’s (2012, pp. 812-813) observation:
Consecutive interpreting entails a large number of almost concurrent cognitive, psychomotor and affective processes, all of which pose major challenges for the interpreter who has to deal with them simultaneously. The interpreter is constantly confronted with unexpected situations that must be dealt with while he/she is already working at the limits of his/her available processing capacity (Gile 1995). It is therefore crucial that interpreter training should be as effective as possible
Note-taking seems to be an inseparable, indispensable component of CI as the demand put on the interpreter’s memory can be huge. That is why “interpreters generally aid their memory by means of a particular note-taking technique which helps them reconstruct the whole speech in the TL, without altering its general structure” (Fabbro & Gran, 1994, p. 296). Kim (2006, p. 248) also holds that the consecutive “interpreter extracts the proper information from notes and from memory, and produces a linguistically correct and culturally appropriate target text, monitoring his/her interpretation at the same time.”
However, Seleskovitch (1999) warns consecutive interpreters of the dangers embedded in application of notes; in line with the emphasis on her famous concept of deverbalization, she stresses that notes should serve as reminders of the speaker’s ideas rather than a full transcription of his words. Arguing that “Carefully devised, complicated notes become a third, artificial language between the speaker’s and the interpreter’s language, adding to students’ difficulties”, Seleskovitch (1999, p. 64) maintains that:
Actually, notes play a secondary role in consecutive interpreting; a few words or symbols jotted down are there as reminders of detailed sense. For deverbalised sense to emerge, a few cues here and there are needed, not reminders of words spoken by a speaker but reminders of his ideas.
Therefore, trainers ought to make sure that note-taking does not turn into an obsession for the trainees. They have to make it clear that notes are a tool at the disposal of the interpreter in order to record on paper the logic and main structure of the speech and to help the interpreter remember the contents of the speech.
It is also noteworthy that note-taking is a completely personal task differing from individual to individual; some interpreters take a lot of notes while others are quite economical, some use lots of symbols and drawings whereas others primarily take recourse to words. It is common practice that interpreters develop their own customized shorthand system to suit them. Thus, it would be no surprise if one interpreter’s notes are completely unintelligible to another. The important thing is that the notes should be usable to the one who has taken them.
CI is normally used in negotiations, press conferences, official events, question and answer sessions, and when SI equipment (such as interpretation booth) is not available.
2.2.3 Sight Translation
The term sight translation “refers to the oral translation of a written text.” (Lee, 2012, p. 695) Here the source text is written and the target text is oral. Lambert (2004, p. 298) defines sight translation as “the transposition of a message written in one language into a message delivered orally in another language.” Thus ST stands in between written translation and interpretation; it shares the characteristics of its source text with written translation while its target text resembles that of interpretation. Lambert (2004) argues that due to the time stress factor as well as the oral nature of the production, ST seems to have more in common with interpreting rather than written translation.
Yet, it should be born in mind that due to the fact that the input is received visually, the mechanisms for message process are different in ST as compared to SI and CI (Agrifoglio, 2004). As the source text is constantly present before the interpreter’s eyes, listening comprehension abilities, which are crucially important in both SI and CI, are totally irrelevant in ST. Another distinction is that on the account that the interpreter’s access to the source text is not temporary his memory is not as vigorously involved in ST as it is in SI and CI.
Although the constant presence of the visual input eliminates listening efforts and relieves memory efforts in ST, the downside is that it may cause interference in TT production, especially if the two languages at hand are drastically different in their syntactic structure and distribution of information over the sentence components. Empirical support for this can be found in Agrifoglio’s (2004) study where she compared the performance of some interpreters in three different modes of interpretation (SI, CI, and ST). She found that expression problems in ST outnumbered those in SI and CI. Most of these TL mistakes stemmed from the syntactic differences between SL and TL.
Another interesting comparison was undertaken by Viezzi (1989, as cited in Lambert, 2004), who tested 4th year students at the University of Trieste, and found that recall rates after ST were lower than after SI. In ST, information is constantly available to the interpreter so he does not need to process the incoming information and store it in memory for some time before rendering the translation. In SI, the form of the presentation of the input imposes on the interpreter a cognitive challenge that leads to longer and deeper information processing. This is not the case in ST, which may be the reason why the retention rate after