The Role of Lag Time in Simultaneous Interpreting Quality

Mehdi Eftekhari


Interpreting either simultaneous or consecutive, as a translational activity, has the feature of immediacy which distincts simultaneous, consecutive and sight translation modes from the other common translation crafts. Immediacy as an important element in interpreting task of simultaneous mode, implicitly promotes verbal involvement and demands interpreter’s active role playing to prevent the flow of communication from being disrupted. Immediateness, as an integral part of simultaneous interpreting, consecutive and sight modes, itself is an element which keeps interpreting activity dynamic, while in the absence of synchrony and shared knowledge it can be a cause of cognitive limitation and mental load on the mind of interpreter. Perfect verbal involvement and a quality interpreting output, therefore, reveal the presence of a perfect synchrony, standard lag time, appropriate shared knowledge and moderate cognitive load. The aim of this study is to illustrate how the lack of such parameters as shared and encyclopaedic knowledge, liguistic and cultural affinities between Source Language (SL) and Target Language (TL) could entail increased amount of mental load and waiting time, and interpreter’s errors and miscues and accordingly low quality interpreting product with semantic inaccuracy.


Cognitive Load, Input, Immediacy, Lag Time, Simultaneous Interpreting, Synchrony, Output, working Memory

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