The Interplay among Variables in Consecutive Interpreting and their Effects uponHuman Interactions

Discussion Committee: 
Dr. Odeh Odeh / Supervisor
Dr. Ayman Nazzal / Co- Supervisor
Dr. Mohammed Thwabteh / External Examiner
Dr. Ruqaya Herzallah / Internal Examiner
Dr. Odeh Odeh / Supervisor
Dr. Ayman Nazzal / Co- Supervisor
Tahseen Mohammed Hasan Khamis Dawud
"Interpreters are linguistic acrobats constantly walking on a tightrope" (Roland, 1999:3).This is a succinct and an eloquent description of the interpreting process, emphasizing its delicacy and complexity at the same time. The interpreting process is a multi-faceted activity in which several variables interact and affect each other in extremely complex ways. The prime emphasis of this thesis is on the interplay among the psychological, social, pragmatic and political dimensions of the multi-layered process of consecutive interpreting. Moreover, it aims at probing the different ways in which these variables interact, cooperate, collaborate, compete and, in certain cases, be in struggle with each other, for the purpose of dictating interpreters' verbal behaviors during the interpreting encounter. First of all, the external and internal psychological constraints can exert tremendous pressures on consecutive interpreters' performance, particularly where the interpreters are in the midst of the action. These pressures, sometimes, compel interpreters to enter into some sort of internal struggle with their psyche to cope with the criteria of their own job, as to achieve an acceptable level of integrity and impartiality. Secondly, and owing to the fact taken for granted and has a consensus endorsement among scholars of interpretation, that the interpretive communicative event does not take place in a social vacuum, but instead is surrounded and shaped by a multiple array of social determinants, such as class, status, ethnicity, power relations, which may inevitably affect the performance of consecutive interpreters. Interpreters as human beings cannot isolate themselves from the influence emanating from their social environment, surrounding the reception and production of speech, especially its hierarchies and the power which pervades every aspect of its structure. Closely related to the social and sociological dimension of the mediated interpretive encounter, is the controversial issue regarding the role of interpreters during face-to-face interactions, and the permissible degree of intervention on the part of interpreters as linguistic and cultural mediators. In carrying out their task, interpreters will recognize that there are cultural gaps and formidable social barriers among languages, and even between various classes within the same speech community, and the task of interpreters is to narrow these gaps. Thirdly, the interpretation of any segment of speech is not only determined by the surface meaning of an utterance, but also, and probably, to a great extent, by the reality of the situation in which the interpreted encounter takes place. This will bring us directly to the domain of pragmatics, and how this unavoidable dimension will reshape the interpretive outcomes. At the end of the interpreting tunnel, it seems that, it is all pragmatics that must be taken into account. The importance of this variable emerges from the fact that it may not be included directly and explicitly in the messages delivered. Finally, needles to indicate the influence of the political scene overshadowing and surrounding mediated encounters, including the balance of power, the identity of interlocutors, and the political atmosphere, whether it is tense or relaxed, and how all of these might affect interpreters' performances in recognizable and consistent ways. Definitions of Key Terms Variables: The aspects of reality that we are trying to connect, as a way of understanding them better, and they are called variables because they vary. They are not constantly present in the same way, nor do they necessarily occur in the same way among different groups. Dimension: An aspect of a situation, problem. Pragmatics: The study of speaker meaning as distinct from word or sentence meaning. Code-switching: The alternating by bilinguals between their two languages in speech production. Selective strategies: Goal-oriented process under intentional control. Paralanguage: Vocal features that accompany speech and contribute to communication, but are not generally considered to be part of the language system, as vocal quality, loudness and tempo. Somatic systems: Nearly the same as Paralanguage. Kinesics: The interpretation of body motion communication, such as facial expressions and gestures, non-verbal behavior related to movement of any part of the body, or the body as a whole. Textual function of language: Creating well-formed and appropriate text. Ideational function of language: Language used to convey information, ideas or experience. It is a means of giving structure to our experience of inner feelings and emotions, as well as of the external world around us. Interpersonal function of language: The function by which the speaker intrudes on the discourse, takes up a position and expresses his/her role in the speech exchange, which illustrates the personality type of language users. Paradigm: A set of basic assumptions, values and standard methods shared by members of a specific research community. Speech event: A type of communicative event in which speech is the main component (conference, meeting, summit, wedding, funerals, elections). Psycholinguistics: The science of human language production, comprehension and acquisition. Sociolinguistics: The study of the interaction between the language and the structure and functioning of society. Context: Linguistic elements which occur immediately before or after a particular linguistic feature, and which may influence the particular form used, including the physical environment in which a word is used. Communicative clues: Grammatical and lexical features which indicate the purposes for which utterances are used (e.g. the use of parallel structures or alliteration to convey irony). Cross-cultural pragmatics: The study of culturally different ways of using language, and of different expectations among different members of linguistic communities regarding how meaning is negotiated. Discourse: The use of language in speech or writing to relay attitudes and negotiate meaning in the light of such conceptual frameworks as ideology. Ideology: A body of assumptions which reflect the beliefs and interests of an individual, a group of individuals or an institution. Encyclopedic knowledge: Knowledge of the world, including linguistic competence. Genre: A type of text, written or spoken, with particular characteristics established by convention. Register: A speech variety used in a specific social situation. Hermeneutics: A model which considers the act of translation in the wider context of human communication across barriers of language, culture, time and personality. Illocutionary force: The communicative value assigned to an utterance or a sequence of utterances. Informativity: The extent to which items of linguistic expression in a text are known/unknown, expected/unexpected. Intentionality: The purpose for which utterances are used. Intertextuality: The dependence of one text or part of text upon other previously encountered texts. Micro-structure: Text structure in detail, including aspects of text, such as connectivity and cohesion. Politeness: Showing awareness of another person's public self-image. Relevance: In cognitive linguistics, the principle of relevance derives from the tendency on the part of communicators to expect maximal benefit for minimal effort , and to increase the effort only if more benefit is in store. Schemata: Pre-existing knowledge structures based on experience with language use in given cultural settings, e.g. stories, descriptions. Scripts: Sequences of events and actions and the way they relate to different situations viewed from a cross-cultural perspective ( e.g. bargaining or protesting). Hedges: Cautious notes expressed about how an utterance is to be taken, e.g., 'as far I know', used when giving some information. Inference: The listener's use of additional knowledge to make sense of what is not explicit in an utterance. Semantics: The study of how words literally connect to things, or more generally, the investigation of meaning as encoded in language. Coherence: Conceptual connectedness within a text. Cohesion: The various lexical and grammatical devices which ensure that elements of a text exhibit surface connectivity. Skopos theory: A theory which holds that translation strategy is determined by the function of the translated text, which may not be the same as that of the source text. Applied research: Is specifically used to make or recommend some good use of particular research results or conceptual analyses in meeting some social needs. Applied linguistics: Is concerned with practical applications of language studies, i.e., the study of language as it affects situations in real life, for example, language teaching, translation, and speech therapy. Short-term memory (STM): Closely related to "working" memory and it is the very short time that you keep something in mind before either dismissing it or transferring it to long-term memory. Long-term memory (LTM): Is our brain's system for permanently storing, managing, and retrieving information over a long period of time for later use. Frames: Global patters that contain commonsense knowledge about some central concepts.
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