The effects of training on reading behaviour and performance in sight translation

a longitudinal study using eye-tracking

Jing Fang, Xiaomin Zhang, Haidee Kotze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This longitudinal study focuses on the impact of training on trainee interpreters’ reading behaviour and performance during sight translation (ST) when dealing with texts of different syntactic complexities, in comparison to a control group. Participants were asked to sight translate four texts with their eye movements captured, two semesters apart. Clauses containing the featured nominal groups of varying complexity were identified as areas of interest (AOIs). Mixed-effects modelling was used to investigate how the independent variables of Complexity, Test Time and Group affect a set of eye-tracking measurements (dwell time, revisits, fixation count, fixation duration) and the quality of the ST performance as reflected in scores. The findings suggest that two semesters of training seem to have limited impact on the reading behaviour of the experimental group. The ST performance of the experimental group have improved significantly for both simplex and complex texts, whereas the improvement is only evident in simplex texts for the control group. After training, participants in the experimental group have significantly fewer revisits to AOIs than the control group when sight translating complex texts. It is also found that the training effect is highly significant among participants with around or below average performance level, but training has limited impact in reducing the revisits of more competent participants.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Interpreter and Translator Trainer
Publication statusSubmitted - 2019



  • sight translation
  • longitudinal studies
  • eye-tracking
  • interpreting training

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