Chapter 7: Computer-assisted Interpreting: Challenges and Future Perspectives

in Trends in E-Tools and Resources for Translators and Interpreters
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During the last decades, information technology has played a central role in the language services industry. Translators and technical writers take advantage of dedicated software to reuse already translated texts, to adhere to a customer-specific corporate language, to grant terminology consistency, and so forth. The final goal is to increase quality and productivity. Even if information technology did not have the same impact on conference interpreting, also the profession is undergoing some changes. Computer-assisted interpreting (cai) tools have entered the profession only in recent years, but other, more general resources had already influenced the way interpreters work. This is not only challenging the way interpreting is performed, but it may have an impact on the cognitive processes underlying the interpreting task, even on some basic assumptions and theories of interpreting, for example the cognitive load distribution between different tasks during simultaneous interpreting. Yet, the academic debate is starting to take notice of these changes and their implications only now. As a consequence, it almost failed to shed light on and address the challenges that lay ahead: there have been relatively few empirical investigations on the impact of cai tools; interpreting models have not been adapted accordingly; the didactics of interpreting has received almost no new technologies in their curricula and no proposal has been advanced to increase the quality of cai tools and to meet interpreters’ real needs.

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