Proceedings from the CALS conference 2014
Edited By Kristina Cergol Kovačević and Sanda Lucija Udier
Simultaneous interpretation of numbers: Cognitive-linguistic approach or how to be on cloud nine
Various studies (Lederer 1978, Pinochi 2009) have shown that numbers represent lexical items which are very difficult to interpret since they are short segments lacking redundancy. Nonetheless, they are very high in informative content and as such require extreme concentration on the part of the interpreter. Traditionally, in simultaneous interpretation numbers were observed as having univocity of meaning, i.e. correspondence between ‘signifiant’ and ‘signifié’, and lacking semantic content (Gile 2009, Seleskovitch 1988, Alessandrini 1990). However, by relying on approaches drawing on the cognitive-linguistic approach to meaning (Dobrovol’skij and Piirainen 2006) we suggest that numbers, especially when they form idiomatic expressions, should also be observed as (bona fide) meaningful linguistic units which fall back on cognitive mechanisms shaped by the appropriate cultural and historical settings, supported by language, writing systems, and education.
This study aims to establish how trainees interpret figurative elements containing numbers that can be explained by means of the cognitive-linguistic approach. The study was conducted by observing trainee-interpreters interpreting speeches with idiomatic expressions containing numbers. The instances of numbers and their interpretations were identified and analyzed with the aim of identifying the preferred strategies and the impact of the chosen strategy on the quality of the rendered text. Categorization of errors was initially based on the coding schemes of Braun and Clarici (1996), Cheung (2009), Mazza (2001), McDonald and Carpenter (1981) and Pinochi (2009), but since this study applied the cognitive-linguistic approach to the interpretation of numbers, it was modified...
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