Volume 6, Issue 4, December 2020, Page: 116-123
Research on the Cognitive Effort of Sight-Interpreting Complex English Sentences into Chinese: Evidence from Eye Tracking
Mengsheng Qian, School of Foreign Languages and Cultures, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, PR China
Ningjun Xu, College of Humanities and Management, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, PR China
Received: Dec. 6, 2020;       Accepted: Dec. 18, 2020;       Published: Dec. 25, 2020
DOI: 10.11648/j.ijalt.20200604.12      View  50      Downloads  36
It is widely known that sight-interpreting, one of the typical forms of conference interpreting, requires the interpreters to exert great effort in transforming one language into another. Due to the difference between Chinese and English, some sentence structures such as relative clauses prove to be even more difficult to render. Some experienced interpreters are able to do such strenuous task with ease. Uncovering what is going on during information processing is enlightening in that it would shed light on how human brain uses certain types of mechanism to process information, which is conducive to the artificial intelligence. Eye-tracking experiment is designed, 31 subjects are recruited with an average age of 22 and comparable linguistic competence to participate in a 40-50 min experiment, during which each subject is required to sight-interpret the self-designed, expert-proven sentences which differ only in the role of the relative pronoun in the relative clauses. Data analysis clearly indicates that the cognitive effort of processing complex sentences as evidenced by two types of relative clauses (one is called OR because the relative pronouns function as object in the relative clause, the other SB because the relative pronouns function as subject in the relative clause) are different, the former requiring more cognitive effort than the latter, as shown in several key eye-movement measures such as regression-in, regression-out, first fixation duration, gaze duration, regression duration, and total reading duration. These differences are statistically significant within the AOIs such as the antecedent, relative clause. The finding further substantiates the hypothesis that sight-interpreting is more strenuous and thus requires more cognitive effort than the common readers. Besides, different structure of the relative clauses also plays a role in consuming the cognitive effort of the interpreters. However, it remains unclear whether the length of the relative clause plays a decisive role in influencing the cognition of whole sentence while sight-interpreting. Besides, whether the research results are applicable to other types of complex structure remain unanswered. More data should be collected to incorporate more complex structure in order to uncover the possible cognitive effort during sight-interpreting.
Cognitive Effort, Sight-interpreting, Complex Sentences, Relative Clause, Eye-tracking, Eye-movement
To cite this article
Mengsheng Qian, Ningjun Xu, Research on the Cognitive Effort of Sight-Interpreting Complex English Sentences into Chinese: Evidence from Eye Tracking, International Journal of Applied Linguistics and Translation. Vol. 6, No. 4, 2020, pp. 116-123. doi: 10.11648/j.ijalt.20200604.12
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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