The Role of Informant-Context Knowledge in Interpreting Hybrid Texts: A Pragmatic Study

Abstract

Interpretation of any text depends on the interpreter’s context knowledge, cultural background, memory skills and language skills. Interpretation is one of the most complicated human cognitive activities. The interpreter’s knowledge of the subject (or lack of it) can affect the whole interpretation process, i.e., the process, the transferring process and the reproduction process. The influence is reflected not only in the quality, quantity, relevance and manner of the interpretations, but also in the interpreting strategies employed. My hypothesis is that with a higher level of informants’ socio-cultural, context and area knowledge, interpreters will have more detailed and deeper understanding of the sentences or conversation; therefore, producing higher quality relevant or expected interpretations. In addition, equipped with more socio-cultural knowledge, interpreters may be able to use higher level of interpreting strategies at the discourse level and lexical level. My paper reports the results of a pilot study that was conducted as part of my PhD research with the aim of exploring the influence of socio-cultural background on interpreters’ successive interpreting of hybrid texts. Fifteen post graduate students and research scholars from different states and country at The English and Foreign Languages University in India participated in the experiment. These participants were given a questionnaire based on hybrid texts where they had to interpret the content. These participants were all comparable in regards to their previous knowledge on the conversation and interpreting experience. Results indicate that with more socio-cultural background knowledge, participants’ performance was better in specialized interpretation.



Author Information
Venkanna Ithagani, The English and Foreign Languages University, India

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2015
Stream: Pragmatics

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