Turn exchanges in an interpreted professor-student conference Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:25:15
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In professional discussions, papers, books, and pamphlets about interpreting, there is а largely underlying assumption that if speakers are talking back and forth, interpreters should make it possible for them to seem as if they are talking directly to one another. Although it may be possible at times for speakers to feel as if they are talking directly to each other, they are not. They are always exchanging speaking turns with the interpreter. In interpreted conversations, just as in ordinary discourse, turns can be analyzed in terms of their structural characteristics.

And, again as in ordinary discourse, some turns cannot be accounted for solely in terms of structural qualities. Some turns come about because participants take turns for reasons congruent with their roles. Turns are complex exchanges because, although the intent and content of а turn originates with each speaker, the interpreter has to allocate and manage the conversational exchange. Turns are complicated entities because, upon hearing or seeing utterances whose meaning resides in other than linguistic form, interpreters have to make decisions from а range of possible choices.

Choices have to include appropriate lexical and grammatical features, layered social meanings, possibilities for transition, and possibilities to elicit а response from yet another range of possible responses. Choosing an appropriate interpretation also depends on factors such as the relative status of the speakers and desired outcomes for the situation. For example, suppose а supervisor asks an employee this question: Would you mind typing this for me? Is this really а question or is it а polite request to type а paper? How immediate is this request?

Interpreters have to select an utterance that may or may not be а question but must include the force of the request, the indirectness (if indirectness is appropriate in the other language), and а type that will elicit an appropriate response. The analysis of the transcript revealed that turn exchanges are occurring between the interpreter and а primary speaker. Even though the content and intent of the turn originates with each primary speaker, the two speakers are not talking directly to each other in the sense that they are exchanging the direct surface signals of their respective languages.

In interpreted events, speakers exchange speaking turns with the interpreter in their own languages. In this interpreted conversation, four categories of turns presented themselves: regular turns, turns around pauses and lag, overlapping turns, and turns initiated by the Interpreter. It is also the case that phenomena around turns, such as pauses, lags, overlapping talk, and simultaneous turns, are going to occur naturally and as they are created by all three participants.

The ongoing recognition of such discourse features are part of an interpreters competence, and the resolution of discourse confusion, if necessary, belongs primarily to the interpreter. Regular Turns In this section, І present examples from the transcript of regular turns, or smooth transitions (Sacks et al. 1974) regular turns in interpreting resemble regular turns in ordinary face-to-face conversation. The examples demonstrate how the interpreter and one or both speakers exchange turns and how а smooth, regular exchange in interpreting takes place. At this point, let me say а few words about reading the transcript.

The transcript is 253 line segments long. In the following examples, the number at the beginning of each line segments represents its place among the 253 lines. Within each segment, there is а line for each participant, the Professor (P), the Student (S), and the Interpreter (І). They are either speaking or are silent. American Sign Language is represented by all caps. English is represented by regular type. There is no transcription or gloss for the Students ASL because the Interpreter provides а translation either within the same line or by the next line segment.

Similarly, there is no gloss for the Interpreters ASL because there is an English rendition immediately before. Because ASL is not а written language and because grammatical relationships can be marked on the face, hands, and through movement and space, ASL is represented by glosses which are literal English representations of some part of the corresponding ASL lexical item. Therefore the meaning represented here is always somewhat skewed or simplified. Finally, І remind readers that the study has taken moments in real time that happened very quickly and has frozen them for а long, careful description and analysis.

The Interpreter, then, has formed an utterance that is а lexical choice and has also chosen а prosodic cue for English which, in turn, produces а response. Interpreter translations are composed of more than lexical, phrasal, or syntactic choices. Choices of prosodic or paralinguistic cues are also required. on the surface, the nature of this exchange is that, the Professor takes turns with the Interpreter. It makes sense those speakers take turns in relation to the linguistic utterance they understand.

Thus, turn-taking as an organizational system of conversation occurs between the Interpreter and а primary speaker and between the Interpreter and the other primary speaker. Why is it necessary to point out this seemingly obvious fact? Primary speakers in interpreted settings are often encouraged to think of themselves as speaking directly to each other. They quickly discover, however, that this is not the case and intuitively understand that they are exchanging turns with the interpreter. Doing so naturally and unconsciously suggests to speakers that they treat the interpreter as а direct interlocutor.

It is no wonder, then, that often we find primary speakers addressing interpreters as participants who can answer questions and give responses. one can also understand how talking directly to an interpreter comes about; it is natural, even ordinary. Here, the transition from Student, to Interpreter, to Professor is а transition without problems. No one exhibits signs of being uncomfortable, nor is there any discourse muddle. А regular turn, then, can be labeled as such because of the naturalness and ease of transition.

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