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Abstract

It is sometimes assumed that consecutive interpreting is more accurate than simultaneous interpreting due to note-taking (Andres, 2002; Gile, 2001a; Matyssek, 1989). So far, little comparative research has been conducted to confirm this belief. Omission in interpreting is a well-known phenomenon, which has already been studied from various perspectives. Omissions are a complex matter, especially because a certain degree of subjectivity can never completely be avoided, as will be explained more broadly in this research article. Furthermore, most research on omissions in interpreting consists of small-scale studies. The study described here set out to compare non-strategic omissions in both consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, with a focus on cognitive load. Nine trainee interpreters’ consecutive and simultaneous target text renditions were transcribed and subsequently analyzed. The analysis adoptedKopczynski’s approach (1980) which allowed for greater insight into the contrast between these interpreting modes. It also allowed the researcher to explore how the interpreter mentally approached the source text on a linguistic level. The analysis not only provided a way of categorizing omissions but also allowed for additional information to be extracted from it. The findings of this small study suggest that students consecutively interpreted renditions were 15% more likely to show omissions than their simultaneously interpreted renditions. In this study, the memory factor may have played a larger role than the cognitive load factor. An attempt has been made to explain the findings and draw some implications for interpreter education.

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