Pause in sight translation: a pilot study

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    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Pauses are common in the practice of sight translation, especially among student interpreters. However, research on this topic has been limited so far. Based on a pilot project, this study aims to explore pauses in English-Chinese sight translation. Two groups of student interpreters, at different stages of training, were recruited to sight translate two texts with different syntactic complexity. The data collection also involved a pre-task vocabulary test and a post-task interview. All the silent pauses were identified and labelled based on their duration, and grammatical position in the text. The results showed that syntactic complexity of the source text had affected the pauses of short and medium length, but its effect on the long pauses of over 2 s was limited. Also, training was found to have an effect on reducing short pauses in the simple text, and medium pauses in the complex text. And students with longer training had significantly fewer longer pauses (over 1 s) at an ungrammatical position than the junior student interpreters. The research also found that, although interpreters had encountered difficult words in the source texts, these words were not a major contributor to pauses. Apart from pausing, interpreters also responded in other ways when facing lexical challenges.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTranslation education
    Subtitle of host publicationa tribute to the establishment of World Interpreter and Translator Training Association (WITTA)
    EditorsJunfeng Zhao, Defeng Li, Lu Tian
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9789811573903
    ISBN (Print)9789811573897
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Publication series

    NameNew frontiers in translation studies
    ISSN (Print)2197-8689
    ISSN (Electronic)2197-8697


    • pause
    • sight translation


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