How does training shape English-Chinese sight translation behaviour?: An eyetracking study

Chen-En Ho, Tze-Wei Chen, Jie-Li Tsai

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This study investigated cognitive aspects of sight translation by analysing
the reading behaviour in the process and the output. In our empirical study,
two groups of participants – interpreting trainees and untrained bilinguals
– carried out three tasks: (a) silent reading, (b) reading aloud, and (c)
sight translation. The results show that the two groups were almost identical
in the first two tasks, further substantiating the similarity of their language
command, but were drastically different in how they tackled sight translation.
Interpreting trainees provided much more accurate, fluent, and adequate
renditions with much less time and fewer fixations. However, their
efficiency at information retrieval was statistically similar to that of the
untrained bilinguals. Thus, interpreting trainees were more efficient by
being more “economical” during reading, rather than by reading ahead
faster, as some would intuitively expect. Chunking skills seem to have also
been at play behind their remarkable performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
JournalTranslation, Cognition & Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2020


  • sight translation
  • cognitive process
  • reading ahead
  • chunking/ segmentation
  • pausing behaviour
  • interpreter training

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