Baltic accent

2023 Vol. 14 №3

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Simultaneous interpreter in multimodal dimension: the role of gestures in moments of non-interpretation



The paper investigates multimodal behavior of simultaneous interpreters during ‘non-interpretation’ regarded as interruptions in the flow of speech due to difficulties. Video recordings of a TEDtalk on biology interpreted from English into Russian by 24 simultaneous interpreters are analyzed with the help of quantitative and qualitative methods. The distribution of gestures with the moments of ‘non-interpretation’ indicates that referential (representational and deictic) gestures serve the compensatory function of strengthening the mappings between three frames of reference in which a simultaneous interpreter acts at the same time: i. e., the frame of reference of the events described in the lecture, the communicative situation of the source text, and the interpreter’s physical communicative space constrained by the booth. Representational gestures connect the first two frames of reference via the representational modes of drawing, molding, holding, as well as acting out and embodying. Deictic (pointing) gestures help the interpreter to organize the referential objects around him / her, thus integrating the referential frame of events being described and interpreted, and the physical space of the booth.


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