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A Lot to Think About: Investigating Dialogue Interpreting Performance


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This webinar reports on recently-completed doctoral research focusing on dialogue interpreters’ experience of task performance. The results of the study shed light on the aspects of task performance that interpreters monitor and the control mechanisms they employ during performance. In addition to reporting on the research study, the presenter will discuss the place of models in interpreter training and present the models proposed in her dissertation. During the last portion of the webinar, the presenter and special guest Cindy Roat will discuss the importance and role of research and theory in dialogue interpreter training.

Learning Objectives:

Present recent research findings related to monitoring and control of performance in dialogue interpreting and discuss their implications for interpreters, interpreter educators, and researchers.
Describe possible models of dialogue interpreting & their potential for use in interpreter education.
Discuss the importance and role of research theory in dialogue interpreter training.

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A Lot to Think About: Investigating Dialogue Interpreting Performance

  2. 2. NATIONAL  COUNCIL  ON  INTERPRETING  IN  HEALTH  CARE   WWW.NCIHC.ORG     You  can  access  the  recording  of  the   live  webinar  presenta6on  at     Home  for  Trainers    Interpreter  Trainers  Webinars  Work  Group   An  ini6a6ve  of  the  Standards  and  Training  CommiBee­‐for-­‐trainers  
  3. 3. NATIONAL  COUNCIL  ON  INTERPRETING  IN  HEALTH  CARE   Housekeeping   -­‐   This  session  is  being  recorded   -­‐   Cer6ficate  of  ABendance          *must  aBend  full  90  minutes          *   -­‐   Audio  and  technical  problems       -­‐   Ques6ons  to  organizers     -­‐   Q  &  A   -­‐   TwiBer  #NCIHCWebinar     Home  for  Trainers    Interpreter  Trainers  Webinars  Workgroup   An  ini6a6ve  of  the  Standards  and  Training  CommiBee­‐for-­‐trainers  
  4. 4. NATIONAL  COUNCIL  ON  INTERPRETING  IN  HEALTH  CARE   Sponsored  by               
  5. 5. NATIONAL  COUNCIL  ON  INTERPRETING  IN  HEALTH  CARE   Welcome!    Guest  Presenter:   Rachel  Herring,  MA,  PhD   Special  Guest:   Cindy  Roat,  MPH  
  6. 6. “A Lot toThink About:” Investigating Dialogue Interpreting Performance Presenter: Rachel E. Herring, MA, PhD Special Guest: Cindy Roat, MPH NCIHC’s Home for Trainers Webinars Series December 27, 2018
  7. 7. Genesis of this Research Academic & Professional Background Teaching Context
  8. 8. Dialogue Interpreting UWMCPhotoArchiveClaireMcClean ¡  Multi-party interactions ¡  Goal-directed ¡  Power imbalances ¡  High potential for sensitive, emotionally-charged, or traumatic subject matter ¡  Sustained scholarly interest in ¡  Coordination of talk ¡  Interpreter’s visibility & role in co-construction of meaning ¡  Sociocultural aspects of communication/mediation
  9. 9. In the Spotlight:The Interpreter as Task Performer
  10. 10. Expertise Studies Dialogue Interpreting- Focused Research Research on Working Memory/ Attention/ Executive Control Process-Focused Interpreting Research Situating this Research Research on Self-Regulation/ Self-Regulated Learning This Study
  11. 11. Theoretical Frameworks Expertise & Skill Acquisition ¡  What are the characteristics of competent task performance? ¡  What is the developmental trajectory from novice to competent performer? ¡  What do differences between novices and competent performers tell us about the skills and knowledge acquired along that trajectory? Self-Regulation ¡  What does the task performer attend to (monitor) during performance? ¡  Encompasses affect, behavior, cognition, and context. ¡  What control mechanisms does the task performer have at his/her disposal? ¡  What directs/guides the task performer’s monitoring and control?
  12. 12. Modelling Online Self-Regulation Feedback loop model of self-regulation, adapted from pg. 43 of Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (2000). On the structure of behavioral self-regulation. In Boekaerts, M., Pintrich, P. R. & Zeidner, M. (Eds.) Handbook of self-regulation (41-84). San Diego:Academic Press. Model of monitoring and control processes, adapted from pg. 126 of Nelson,T. O. & Narens, L. (1990). Metamemory: a theoretical framework and new findings. In Bower, G. H. (Ed.) The psychology of learning and motivation:Advances in research and theory, Vol. 26 (125-173). San Diego:Academic Press. Carver & Scheier’s (2000) Feedback Loop Model of Self-Regulation Nelson & Narens’ (1990) Model of Monitoring & Control Processes
  13. 13. Defining Online Self-Regulation In this study, online (i.e., during task performance) self-regulation refers to…. The interpreter’s online monitoring of affect, behavior, cognition, and context and online employment of affectual, behavioral, or cognitive control mechanisms in order to maintain or increase alignment between the current state of the interactional system and the interpreter’s performance goals.
  14. 14. Research Questions §  RQ 1: What evidence is there for online self-regulation in dialogue interpreting? §  RQ 1.1: What evidence is there of online monitoring of affect, behavior, cognition, and context? §  RQ 1.2: What online control mechanisms do dialogue interpreters employ? §  RQ 2: What aspects of online self-regulation do dialogue interpreters report on retrospectively? §  RQ 3: Are there differences between novices’ and experts’ online self-regulation? §  RQ 4: Are there differences between novices’ and experts’ retrospective reports of online self-regulation?
  15. 15. Investigating Black Box Processes
  16. 16. Method, Part I: Simulated Interaction ¡  Simulation Design: ¡  Specific challenges identified for inclusion (e.g., speed, overlapping speakers, confusing/ contradictory story, conflict between parties, interpreter-direct comments) ¡  Context and story developed jointly with ‘actors’ ¡  Unscripted, but planned and practiced ¡  Eight participants (three ‘novice’, five ‘expert’) ¡  Video- and audio-recorded; observed via secure webconference link
  17. 17. Method, Part II: Retrospective Process Tracing (RPT) §  Accessibility of online processing for post-task recall §  Methodological considerations §  Preparation §  Immediacy §  Procedure §  Cues
  18. 18. RPT Method Employed in This Study ¡  Stage 1: Uncued I would like to hear anything you remember thinking during the encounter. The goal of retrospection is to reconstruct your thought processes as you interpreted, NOT to evaluate your work or explain your decisions. Please begin by sharing anything and everything that went through your mind as you interpreted. ¡  Stage 2: Minimally Cued I would like to hear anything else you can remember thinking. Here is an outline of the main parts of the encounter: …… ¡  Stage 3:Verbal Probes What was easy/difficult…. / What challenges did you encounter… Mood / Emotional reaction to the parties or situation / Reactions to the parties or situation /Thinking about possible outcomes Follow up on specific moments of the simulation noted on the observation sheet as being of interest
  19. 19. Participants (participant names are pseudonyms) Novices (N=3) Benjamin Carla Jonathan ‘Experts’/Competent Performers (N=5) Ana Erica Laura Naomi Sara
  20. 20. Overview: Evidence of Online Self-Regulation ¡  Indicators of interpreters’ online self-regulation identified in the performance data include: ¡  Speech disfluencies ¡  Self-correction ¡  Management of turn taking ¡  Requests for repetition/clarification ¡  Indicators of interpreters’ online-self regulation identified in the retrospection data include: ¡  Monitoring of their own and others’ affect and behavior, their own cognition, and the situational context ¡  Employment of affectual, behavioral, and cognitive control mechanisms
  21. 21. Foci of Online Monitoring Identified in the Retrospections ¡  Affect/Intrapersonal ¡  Interpreter’s own emotional state / level of confidence / evaluation of performance ¡  Interlocutors’ emotional state ¡  Behavior ¡  Interpreter’s own behavior ¡  Interlocutors’ behavior ¡  Cognitive processes of interpreting (e.g., comprehension, language transfer, production, checking for accuracy) ¡  Context Nelson & Narens’ (1990) Model of Monitoring & Control Processes (source cited on slide 4, above)
  22. 22. Categories of Online Control Mechanisms Identified in the Retrospections ¡  Affectual/Intrapersonal ¡  Focus on neutrality/professional identity ¡  Control or redirect emotional reaction ¡  Behavioral ¡  Manage turn-taking ¡  Establish/maintain role boundaries ¡  Switch interpreting modality ¡  Cognitive ¡  Increase/redirect focus ¡  Mental search for (linguistic) solution ¡  Linguistic/interpreting strategies Nelson & Narens’ (1990) Model of Monitoring & Control Processes (source cited on slide 4, above)
  23. 23. Examples from the Retrospections Monitoring Interlocutors’ Behavior / Behavioral Control Mechanism: “uh noticing that Mariela was looking at me and wondering if I should have dealt with that but I felt like it wasn’t an important enough issue to try to tell her to look at somebody else -- uh so avoiding eye contact with her” Ana (expert group), in the uncued stage of the retrospection
  24. 24. Examples from the Retrospections Monitoring Interlocutors’ Affect / Affectual Control Mechanism: “I focused on her [AN:Theresa] more like -- because I had this like really bad energy here and I had like a really relaxed person on my- on the right so I tried more like- to like to have empathy with that character -- you know like try to be relaxed” Naomi (expert group), in the verbal probes stage of the retrospection
  25. 25. Examples from the Retrospections Monitoring Cognition / Cognitive Control Mechanism: “she [AN:Theresa] was like ‘we gotta put all the nuts and bolts together’ so I go ‘how am I going to say nut’ so I say ‘las piezas’ [AN: pieces] you know and then I thought of an alternative way of you know -- ‘cause I caught myself going ‘how do I say nuts and bolts’ then I then I had to like creative thinking and think of something” Carla (novice group), in the verbal probes stage of the retrospection
  26. 26. Examples from the Retrospections Monitoring Context / Cognitive Control Mechanism: “oh well that I had no idea what I was interp- interpreting -- I was expecting something else -- I don’t know why I was expecting something in the medical field -- maybe because that’s th- something I am very used to interpreting for um -- and then so I was trying to figure out where I am -- what is the issue that I am going to be interpreting -- you know what type of terminology will I need to use” Laura (expert group), in the minimally-cued stage of the retrospection
  27. 27. Contributions of this Research (1) §  For Practitioners §  Provides empirical evidence of the variables and parameters of the task, reinforcing a view of interpreters as highly-skilled professionals carrying out a complex performance activity §  Findings may be drawn on to educate others about the variables influencing task performance UWMC Photo Archive Claire McClean
  28. 28. Contributions of this Research (1I) §  For Educators §  Provides evidence of the range of subskills & competencies that learners need to acquire §  Highlights the role of self-regulatory skill in competent performance §  Suggests the possibility of developing practice activities focused on specific variables/aspects of the interaction & on the use of specific control mechanisms
  29. 29. Contributions of this Research (III) §  For Researchers §  Demonstrates potential of self-regulation and expertise studies as theoretical frameworks to employ in the study of dialogue interpreting §  Contributes to the development of Interpreting Studies research methods & analytical approaches §  Provides a baseline of empirical data as a point of comparison for future research §  Proposes multiple partial models of dialogue interpreting
  30. 30. Directions for Future Research ¡  Identify differences in novice & expert (competent) performance & describe characteristics of competent performance ¡  Explore influence of individual background/style on employment of control mechanisms ¡  Investigate role of situation/context in interpreters’ online self-regulation
  31. 31. Modelling Dialogue Interpreting
  32. 32. INPUT PROCESS OUTPUT A highly simplified process model of interpreting (Gile, 1994)
  33. 33. A highly simplified process model of dialogue interpreting (Herring, 2018)
  34. 34. A highly simplified process model dialogue interpreting modified to include requests for repetition/clarification (Herring, 2018)
  35. 35. A Partial Model of Dialogue Interpreting: Online Self-Regulation (Herring, 2018)
  36. 36. As a dialogue interpreter, I carry out a complex, dynamic, and goal-directed communicative task: helping individuals who do not share a language in common to communicate with each other. Every interaction I interpret is influenced by many variables that I must take into account during performance, and which may affect my performance and decision-making: •  One set of variables has to do with me, the interpreter—for example, my emotional and physical state (e.g., level of confidence, physical health, fatigue), my prior knowledge of the setting and/or interlocutors, and my background (e.g., training and experience). •  Another set of variables has to do with the interlocutors participating in the interaction—for example, their respective backgrounds, communication goals, and prior experiences with or feelings about intercultural/interlingual communication. •  A third set of variables has to do with the setting in which the parties are interacting; for example, setting-specific discourse practices, expectations, or constraints. A narrative account of dialogue interpreting, from the interpreter’s perspective (Herring, 2018)—Slide 1
  37. 37. A narrative account of dialogue interpreting, from the interpreter’s perspective (Herring, 2018)—Slide II Carrying out the core cognitive processes of interpreting is a major component of the work I do.These processes include: ¡  Attending (listening) to an individual’s linguistic and paralinguistic output in order to understand, to the fullest extent possible, what that person desires to communicate within the context of the setting and of the unfolding interaction. ¡  Retaining the comprehended information in memory. ¡   Converting or transferring that information into another language while taking into account, to the extent possible, the communicative context and the differing sociocultural realities of each speaker. ¡  (Re)producing—that is, communicating via spoken/signed language and paralinguistic means—the information in the target language. To the extent that I have cognitive (attentional) resources available, I continuously check whether I have understood correctly, retained the information, converted it faithfully into the target language, and produced correct and comprehensible output in the target language; that is, insofar as possible, I monitor the alignment between my performance goals and the current state of affairs.  
  38. 38. A narrative account of dialogue interpreting, from the interpreter’s perspective (Herring, 2018)—Slide III In addition to monitoring the cognitive processes of interpreting, I monitor other internal and external factors: ¡  I monitor my own emotions, because my emotional reactions to the situation and my internal state (self-doubt, confidence) can influence my performance. ¡  I monitor my own behavior as well as the effectiveness of any behavioral control mechanisms that I employ. I pay attention to what I am doing and the extent to which it meets or supports my performance goals. I also monitor whether the behavioral control mechanisms I employ (e.g., asking for pauses, giving and taking turns at talk) are having the desired effect. ¡  I monitor my understanding of the situation at hand, assessing whether my knowledge of the context is adequate to allow me to understand and communicate ideas and information back and forth between the parties. ¡  I monitor my physical surroundings, for example, making sure that I can hear and see adequately, and that I can be heard and seen.
  39. 39. A narrative account of dialogue interpreting, from the interpreter’s perspective (Herring, 2018)—Slide IV I also monitor a number of aspects of the other parties involved in the interaction: ¡  I monitor other people’s behavior, because things that other people do can convey meaning (for example, body language) and can potentially interfere with achieving my performance goals (for example, if several people speak at once it may interfere with my ability to hear and understand everything that is communicated). ¡  I monitor other people’s emotional state, because others’ emotional state contributes to communicating meaning; emotion can also affect how people communicate (e.g., talking faster, interrupting). Other people’s emotions can also affect my ability to perform effectively—for example, if I hear something sad it may provoke an emotional response in me, which may impair my ability to listen effectively.
  40. 40. A narrative account of dialogue interpreting, from the interpreter’s perspective (Herring, 2018)—SlideV As part of monitoring (sometimes automatically, sometimes via attended/controlled processing) these aspects of the ‘system’ that is the interpreted interaction, I assess, to the extent possible, whether the situation at hand is in alignment with my performance goals, and whether I need to take action to maintain or increase alignment between my performance goals and the current state of the system (i.e., what is going on in the interaction).When the need to avoid or remedy a problem arises, I have recourse —whether consciously or unconsciously— to a range of control mechanisms, some overt (i.e., visible to an observer), and others covert (i.e., not visible to an observer). ¡  Some of these control mechanisms are cognitive; for example, I can employ interpreting strategies such as circumlocution or redirect my attention. ¡  Some are affect-related; for example, I can refocus my emotional response or employ positive self-talk. ¡  Some are behavioral; for example, I can ask speakers to pause or repeat themselves, interrupt a speaker to take a turn at talk, or reposition myself so as to hear or see better. 
  41. 41. Questions & Discussion with Cindy Roat
  42. 42. Thank you! Questions? Comments? Rachel Herring: Cindy Roat:
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  45. 45. NATIONAL  COUNCIL  ON  INTERPRETING  IN  HEALTH  CARE   WWW.NCIHC.ORG     You  can  access  the  recording  of  the   live  webinar  presenta6on  at     Home  for  Trainers    Interpreter  Trainers  Webinars  Work  Group   An  ini6a6ve  of  the  Standards  and  Training  CommiBee­‐for-­‐trainers