On Trainee Interpreters’ English Listening Comprehension Barriers: The Case of Local University Undergraduate Translation Majors in China
Listening is the first step of interpretation, and it determines whether an interpreter can successfully grasp information received in the source utterance and fulfill the interpreting task. Being an important part of interpreting process, it is also the bottleneck of many trainee interpreters. For the majority of Chinese students majoring in English or translation, it is a problem needing to be addressed urgently. The present study aims at finding the trainees’ barriers for listening comprehension in English to Chinese interpretation. A questionnaire study was conducted on 164 trainee interpreters. The results and the following informal interviews indicate that some factors exert negative effects on the trainees’ listening and information receiving, including linguistic barriers and non-linguistic ones. The linguistic barriers revealed from the data are perception of sounds, lexical segmentation, sentence structure recognition etc. The Non-linguistic barriers include lack of background knowledge, logic organization of the information, speaker’s accent, unfamiliar vocabularies, unbalanced effort coordination and psychological stress, etc. Based on the theoretical and pedagogic analysis of students’ problems, some teaching and training strategies are suggested to cope with the problems.