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Abstract

This empirical study investigates features of interpreters’ use of repair strategies in Chinese-English consecutive interpreting. The data were collected from a consecutive interpreting experiment in which nine professional interpreters and nine interpreting trainees (all native speakers of Chinese with English as their B language) were invited to interpret an authentic speech from Chinese into English. A parallel bilingual corpus was built comprising transcripts of the speech and the interpreting output. All the repair strategies therein were coded for analysis. Follow-up interviews were conducted to elicit interpreters’ recall of their adoption of such strategies. Results show that in general, professional interpreters made significantly fewer repairs. Striking differences between the two groups were found in (a) trainees’ more frequent use of repetitions, restart repairs, as well as grammatical and lexical error repairs, which can be attributed to trainees’ lower proficiency in formulating ideas in English with proper lexical choices, correct collocations, and efficient syntactical structures; and (b) professionals’ more frequent use of synonym repairs, which are presented mainly in disguised forms and applied skillfully as buffer strategies. The pedagogical implications and possible extensions of the study are also discussed.

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