Li Defeng

Bionote of Prof. Li Defeng






Dr. LI Defeng is Professor of Translation Studies and Director of Centrefor Studies of Translation, Interpreting and Cognition (CSTIC) of University of Macau. Prior to his current appointment, he served as Chair of the Centre forTranslation Studies and Reader in Translation Studies at SOAS, University of London, Director of MA in Translation and Associate Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dean and Chair Professor at Shandong University and (visiting) Chair Professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University. Other positions he has held include, among others, Vice-President of the Pacific Association of Computer-Assisted Language Learning, Executive Member of the Translator Training Committee of International Association of Translation and Intercultural Studies, and Advisor to Translation Committee of European Society for Translation Studies.

Dr. Li takes an keen interest in Research Methods in Translation Studies, Corpus-Assisted Translation Studies, Neuro-cognitive Processes of Translation and Interpreting, Curriculum Development in Translator Training, Professional Translation (e.g.Business, Journalistic, Legal Translation), as well as Second Language Education. He has published in journals such as Target: International Journal of Translation Studies, Meta: Translators' Journal, Interpreter and Translator Trainer, Literary and Linguistic Computing, Babel: International Journalof Translation, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, ATA Chronicle, Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, Translation Quarterly, TESOL Quarterly,《外国语》 and 《中国翻译》.




Plenary Speech by Prof. Li Defeng


Title: “Chunking” as aTechnique for Students of Simultaneous Interpreting: Evidence from an Eye-Tracking Experiment


Abstract: Simultaneous Interpreting is arguably one of the most complex language tasks imaginable( e.g. De Groot, 2011). Simultaneous Interpreting with text, which involves reading and processing written texts on top of listening and speaking at the same time in a bilingual context, is one of the most demanding modes of conference interpreting.

“Chunking”, which means dividing long complex sentences into chunks by drawing slashes tomake sure that the interpreter focuses on one translation unit at a time, is at echnique that has been used by practitioners and recommended in the classroom. The argument is that “chunking” allows the interpreter to constantly re-clockhis/her working memory instead of attempting to process the entire sentence at one go, thus avoiding cognitive overload.

An experiment was carried out to test out the strategy. Details of the experiment are:

1.   22 postgraduate students of translation studies of similar L2 competence and educational background were randomly divided into two groups.

2.   The two groups were given the same source text – an excerpt of approximately 150 English words from a natural written speech.    

3.   Both groups were allowed 10 minutes to study the ST. However, one group were told todivide complex sentences into chunks by inserting slashes as they read while the other group were not allowed to leave any mark on the ST.    

4.   The subjects were then placed in front of eye trackers to perform SI (English toChinese) with ST. The audio input was the ST uttered at approximately 130 syllables per minute.    

5.   Their eye movements and their interpreting were recorded via the eye tracker    

6.   Followup interviews were conducted.    

The interpreting outputs were transcribed, graded by two interpreting trainers and analyzed with corpus technology. It was found that the group with the text segmented by themselves and the group that merely read through the ST demonstrated different eye movement patterns, which affected their SI performance, most notably their speech flow.