Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Chinese Studies

Display Staff

Go to the MLAC staff pages

Publication details for Dr Binghan Zheng

2013 (co-authored with Xia, Xiang) 'Processing metaphorical expressions in sight translation: an empirical-experimental research', Babel 59, pp. 160-183

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This empirical–experimental study focuses on the processing of metaphorical expressions in sight translation (STR), a particular branch of interpreting. In order to test whether linguistic metaphors pose cognitive challenges for sight translators, we designed a within-subject experiment with 30 undergraduate taking an intermediate-level interpreting course at a Chinese university. Three streams of data, namely processing times, translation quality assessments, questionnaires and retrospective interviews, were collected and analysed for triangulation purposes.

The results showed that metaphorical expressions took more time to process, and their presence resulted in more translation failures. In other words, the inclusion of linguistic metaphors slowed down the speed of production and compromised the quality of translation, meaning that the STR of metaphors requires more effort than for their literal counterparts.

The results also suggested that the extra effort was mainly invested in the reading phase, rather than in the production phase. The data revealed that mistranslations resulting from incomplete understanding, and the ensuing imbalance in the allocation of processing capacity between the reading and production tasks, far outnumbered those resulting from the failure to find appropriate target-language terms. By adopting STR as the vehicle for examining metaphorical expressions, this study also shed some light on how metaphors are processed in a bilingual environment.