A theoretical analysis into visualization technique and shortterm memory training in interpreting and suggesions for english majorsin Vietnam institutions

Abstract. This study sheds light on the close relation between visualization and memory training in teaching and learning interpreting. In particular, a detailed literature review on background knowledge of interpreting theory is analyzed, which covers relevant highlights on interpreting definition, process as well as essential principles. Also, basic understanding in regard of memory and memory training is clearly demonstrated, which, leads to the introduction of visualization as a solution to memorizing in interpreting. Especially, certain recommendations on visualization as a useful technique and exercises are given as a guide to apply this approach based on the real situation of interpreting teaching and learning for English majors of Vietnam Institutions.

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102 HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1067.2018-0055 Social Sciences, 2018, Volume 63, Issue 7, pp. 102-113 This paper is available online at A THEORETICAL ANALYSIS INTO VISUALIZATION TECHNIQUE AND SHORT- TERM MEMORY TRAINING IN INTERPRETING AND SUGGESIONS FOR ENGLISH MAJORSIN VIETNAM INSTITUTIONS Le Thuy Linh Faculty of Foreign Languages, National Economics University Abstract. This study sheds light on the close relation between visualization and memory training in teaching and learning interpreting. In particular, a detailed literature review on background knowledge of interpreting theory is analyzed, which covers relevant highlights on interpreting definition, process as well as essential principles. Also, basic understanding in regard of memory and memory training is clearly demonstrated, which, leads to the introduction of visualization as a solution to memorizing in interpreting. Especially, certain recommendations on visualization as a useful technique and exercises are given as a guide to apply this approach based on the real situation of interpreting teaching and learning for English majors of Vietnam Institutions. Keywords: Interpreting, short term memory, memory training/memorizing, visualization. 1. Introduction As a job and a subject at language major institutions, interpreting seems to be an interesting but challenging field. In fact, this area provides practitioners as well as learners with great opportunities to explore new ideas of linguistics, lexicology and grammar in two languages; and link those languages with humans’ cultures at the same time. However, those horizons also bring about troubles of rendering the speaker’s messages, presenting them and explaining them under the light of relevant specialized knowledge as well as target language’s and source language’s settings, cultures and norms. Those result in the fact that even if someone can be fluent in using or even mastering two languages, it does not mean that he/she can become an excellent interpreter. The interpreting, as a matter of fact, can be learned and trained based on a number of essential skills and techniques, among them are memorizing and taking notes, which can be easily identified through observation of interpreting sessions on television and daily conferences or workshop. It cannot be denied that notes do not imply complete sentences, but just key terms. Therefore, what seems to be the most significant aspect for an interpreter to train himself/herself should be related to memory. Because it is impossible to remember every word, it is essential to find out techniques to remind interpreter of what to be orally translated. Thus, a study on the relationship between visualization as an approach of memorizing was conducted. This might be considered as a theoretical basis for trainers and learners to utilize visualization in interpreting training. Moreover, it can be a helpful material in the way of recommending several exercises to employ visualization technique. Received February 22, 2018. Accepted July 2, 2018. Contact Le Thuy Linh, e-mail address: linhlethuy.neu@gmail.com. A theoretical analysis into visualization technique and short-term memory training in interpreting and 103 2. Content 2.1. Interpreting: An overview 2.1.1. Definition As a subject called “interpreting” for English majors, it means “rendering” messages from one language into another (Bui & Dang, 1999). The particular job of an “interpreter” is demonstrated as a language bridge for two partners, including both individuals and groups. Similarly, Jones (2003) used the function of an interpreter to illustrate the denotation of “interpreting”. In detail, he exemplified the situation of two persons from different countries, working in various fields such as politics, business, trade and science, etc. Luckily, thanks to the assistance of someone using both languages and being able to give explanation for each person in turn, these two partners can carry out their discussion. However, rather than language, interpreting is also closely linked with various specialized working areas as mentioned in this scenario, as well as cultures. This results in the fact that an interpreter should be equipped with special capabilities such as grammar, memory, synthesis, concentration, cultural and specialized knowledge, etc. (Ma, 2013; Del Pino Romero, 1999). Especially, “interpreting” is supposed to be a successfully acquired skill due to great efforts and huge investment into linguistics studies, professional development, cultural understanding and global knowledge improvement. This requirement is given due to the idea that “Stars are born, interpreters are made” (Ma, 2013; Tryuk, 2011). Consequently, it is suggested that the sooner one person acknowledges the value of interpretive skill practice and training; the more successful he/she can be at doing the job (Miqing, 1999; Ma, 2013). All in all, “interpreting” is rendering oral speeches from the source language into the target language. Nonetheless, “interpreting” does not limit at language understanding and translation at word level as well as sentence structure, but it is related to thorough knowledge of the two cultures and societies. 2.1.2. Interpreting process/ interpreting principles To begin with, Bui&Dang (1997) introduced an extremely basic model for English majors in their course book for theory of translation and interpreting, which is presented as the following diagram: I → U → D → T → O1 → O2 * (C + C) →(T → O1) I = The input stage. The interpreter must have excellent hearing ability and receive the message without interference U= Understanding. This is the most important stage of the interpreting triangle. Not understanding will result in a breakdown of communication D= Deciphering. At this stage, the interpreter gets rid of all the words, retaining the concept, idea T= Transference. The concept or idea is now transferred into the other language C+C= Context and Culture. During the transfer stage, the meaning is clarified by cultural and contextual considerations O1= Output 1. The interpreter finds an equivalent idiomatic expression O2= Output 2. The interpreter transfers the meaning. As a detailed instruction for language learners, this model divides an interpreting session into several steps so that they can be easily acquired. Nonetheless, all of them can be summarized into three main phases with (1) listening for input, (2) understanding and analyzing the input and (3) Le Thuy Linh 104 giving output. The key feature of this model is its emphasis on the influence of culture and context on the production of interpretation. Another model suggested by Gile (1995a, p.159) involved only two main phases in the process of interpreting, which, then, covered different components to be analyzed. According to Gile’s efforts model, consecutive interpreting (CI) is the result of listening and reformulation phases as follows: - Phase one: CI (Listening phase)= Listening + Memory effort+ Note-taking effort+ Coordination - Phase two: CI (Reformulation phase)=Remember + Read+ Production It can be seen from Gile’s model that this model illustrates interpreting is such “a multi-task activity”, in which various tasks should happen quickly step by step, or sometimes, even at the same moment. Also, the cooperative performance between note taking and note reading is noted in the way the interpreter has been familiar with. Obviously, each component is closely linked with the other so that all components can help to bring about a smooth and effective interpreting. The next model is relevant to the area of psychology, which was analyzed by Anderson (1995), called ACT-R (Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational). In fact, he considered it as a process of interpreting skill improvement based on learning acquisition process. Based on ACT-R theory, there are three steps, so-called cognitive, associate and autonomous ones. At first, the message in acquired under the form of declaration, which requires the interpreter to encode it in a declarative basis so that it can be transferred to the status of comprehensible information to be notified. After that, the conscious message is compiled with interpreter’s knowledge. At this time, errors of wrong understanding in terms of terminology, grammar and ideas are “detected”, the connective bones among different cohesive ideas are highlighted. Finally, in the autonomous step, the scenario should be very quick in mind and utterance. Then, the underlying point of this procedure is the cognition, which is linked with the input information, the analysis into errors and main details and the ready-to-be produced message. Putting together, despite being dissimilar in the format and elements, those above mentioned popular models of interpreting process prove that this is such a challenging and complicated procedure, which covers the listening stage, understanding one and producing one. It can be inferred from this quick conclusion that an interpreter should practice as much as possible in order to master all of those steps. They may acquire skills from lessons learnt for each interpretation session. Also, they should be self-equipped and trained with numerous helpful attributes. 2.1.3. Interpreting helpful skills In general, some outstanding skills to be carefully trained for interpreter were obviously stated in the studies by different researchers. For example, listening, memorizing, note-taking and presenting skills are those recommended in previous academic works (Liu, 2001; Liu, 2015; Gile, 1995a; Han, 2013; Bui & Dang, 1997), as follows: - Listening skill: Interpreters should listen for the main message and try to convert it into the target language. - Memory training skill: short-term memory is frequently utilized for the temporary coverage of speech’s segments during interpreting process. - Note taking skill: Interpreter should feel free to take as many notes as possible to trigger the delivered message, but not too many. Especially, there is nothing considered as the best note- taking system. There are some common symbols (Bui & Dang, 1997, p.43) such as arrows, abbreviations, mathematical symbols, etc. - In addition to those mentioned skill, it was proposed that an interpreter should also improve his/her presentation skill (Bui & Dang, 1997). Reality shows that an interpreter is a A theoretical analysis into visualization technique and short-term memory training in interpreting and 105 presenter as well. He/she is transferring the information of another person into another language. Nonetheless, he/she is really talking to the audience. Then, interpreter should be fluent in using the two languages. 2.2. Memory and Visualization: The close link 2.2.1. Definition of memory Definition of memory would facilitate the rationales of its training for better memorization skill. Thus, as a term, this concept should be stated first. According to Alan (2013), memory is simply related to the systematic collection of keeping and recalling various kinds of information such as regular activities, habits, truth, lessons learnt, etc. He emphasized that there has been neither ideal nor globally shared model of memory. Moreover, the human’s memory cannot be compared with a computer system because it is not perfectly designed and completed as an electronic device. Being opposed to this idea, Cynthia & Gilles (2013) stressed the similarity between memory and computer. This is due to their viewpoint of memory not as a storage structure but an information-processing model with particular phases from coding the message, keeping it and recalling it. Supporting this perspective, Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968) also agreed on the procedure of dealing with information as input in humans’ brain. However, they provided linkages between encoding and sensorizing, maintaining and transferring to short-term region, recovering and long-term memory. This clarification is based on the recognition of the senses’ participation in getting the information, the attention of restoring it to keep it in the brain and regular repetition to use and reuse the message as much as it reserves a part in the region of long-term memory. It can be inferred from these definitions of memory that it should not only be referred to as a simple store of information. More than that, the comprehension of memory should cover the process of memorizing at the same time with clear stages. In particular, when the information or messages is achieved, it would, then, be saved if it is intentionally focused. Especially, if that information is put into numerous contexts to be utilized again and again, it can be retained in the long run. 2.2.2. Types of memory In a plain online material with theories on memory for students’ soft skill at North Shore Community College, memory is categorized into two main kinds, namely short-term and long- term memory (Memory Concentration-Recall Memory tips). Short-term memory deals with numbers, details in daily life for immediate usage such as food recipe, phone calls, etc. Long-term memory works with references and knowledge for studies. This is a common way of dividing memory into smaller groups even in different academic documents (Bui & Dang, 1999; Jones, 2003). However, further research into this aspect reveals that the organization of memory can be broken down into more dependent regions. Specifically, Alan (2013) listed three components of memory, which are short-term memory, working memory and long-term memory. The first kind of these relates to temporary information to be used immediately. According to this author, short-term memory is attached with visual and auditory systems. Working memory is built up with different chunks, which might include letter, number and language components like words, phrases, etc. These chunks function as key elements to trigger the memory so that the messages can be rehearsed as much as possible. As a result, the brain is made to work and the memory is activated at the same time. Long-term memory is more complicated. It runs due to the harmony in co-operation among action performance, personal experiences and meaningful verbal and numeric codes of the messages. In other words, a piece of information can only be transferred to long-term region only if it is really put into effect with lessons learnt and linked signals or symbols. Le Thuy Linh 106 Another way of classifying memory that is worth mentioning is the viewpoint of Cynthia& Gilles (2013) and Robertson (2001). Based on their analysis, memory works under two branches of declarative (explicit) memory and non-declarative (implicit) memory. In the former type, there are sub-kinds as working memory, episodic memory and semantic memory. In detail, declarative memory is the memory that can be adjusted in a flexible and attentive basis. Declarative means intentional and full of efforts. Working memory/short term memory links with temporary information, episodic one relates to stories, events and the last one stores general background knowledge. Non-declarative memory puts an impact on current perceptions without any awareness or attention. This kind covers priming memory with its assistance in improving speed and accuracy of memorizing based on practice and experience, procedural memory with task- based processes to be remembered and classical conditioning with the formation of relation between the causes and effects of an action. Under the above classification, working memory is considered the same as short-term memory that is used “to store and process the information we are currently thinking about” (Cynthia & Gilles, 2013, p.14).It works with the input received from sensory memory-the starting point of processing information. At last, long-term memory runs with procedure of encoding, decoding and practicing. In short, whether being regarded as independent sub-kinds of memory or embedded under other sub-kinds of memory, short-term/working memory and long-term memory seem to be common ways of classifying this term. In fact, the different ways of categorizing are based on internal and external factors/attributes of memorizing process. All evidences reveal that short-term is constructed with input from hearing and seeing whereas long-term requires experiences of practice (Robertson, 2001; Cynthia & Gilles, 2013; Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968). 2.2.3. Why short-term memory training in interpreting? As noted by Han (2013) and supported by Liu (2001), memory training and note taking are considered as the most difficult skills for students to master, even with some practitioners with first-hand experience in interpreting. Between these two, memory is the aspect that can be claimed as more challenging. This is explained by the comments of most people that they are not born to own a huge capacity in the brain. They find it hard to memorize temporary items. It is even believed that memory training is impossible when there is a saying that “Interpreters are born not made” according to Jean Herbert (as cited in Tryuk, 2011). However, it is proved in the above pages that thanks to practice and efforts of cognitive thinking and language improvement, an interpreter can be trained step by step. This leads to the inference that even short term memory can be enhanced. Also, an interpreter cannot always take notes. If the speaker stops after few sentences, it is the interpreter’s readiness to give utterances right at that time. Especially, notes are not always helpful if there are too many details in a lengthy segment. Then, the interpreter has to co-operate both memory and notes with memory as the key pillar and key notes of names, numbers, etc as the supporter. Those are the reasons why memory training is chosen as the key issue in this study. Especially, Han (2013) also illustrated that “The essence of memory in interpretation is to remember the major meaning and key words of a discourse in source language rather than copying mechanically in mind the isolated phonetic symbols and lexical symbols. It consists of three store mechanisms: sensory store (instant memory), short-term memory and long-term memory (cognitive memory)” (p.163) In many cases, most students often claim that they are not capable of storing new ideas or keep pieces of key details in their “short-term” and “long-term” memory (Kornakov, 2000). Thus, A theoretical analysis into visualization technique and short-term memory training in interpreting and 107 it is clear that short-term memory and long-term memory should be highly appreciated in interpreting skill improvement exercises. 2.2.4. How to improve short-term memory? There some useful suggestions to enhance short-term memory for interpreting trainees, which are given by Bui & Dang (1997) in their teaching material of interpreting theory for third-year students. First of all, learners should use newspaper article to train themselves. For example, they pick up a text about 75-100 words and study it for few minutes. Then, they should put the paper down and try to repeat the information as accurately as possible in the source language before translating it into the target language. This exercise should be done during at least 12 weeks to reveal its effect. Another way of practicing memory is speech translation. This means that students should ask their relatives, friends to read a text or speak about any topic with about 300- 400 words. Then, they should try to repro
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