Studying interpreters’ stress in crisis communication: evidence from multimodal technology of eye-tracking, heart rate and galvanic skin response

Saihong Li, Yifang Wang, Yubo Zhou Rasmussen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
106 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article uses risk communication theory and cognitive load theory to analyse the stress experienced by interpreters involved in crisis communication within Covid-19 medical scenarios. It considers the nature of stress both from psychological (mental) and physiological perspectives, exploring the relationship between the level of cognitive load, interpreters’ stress, and the quality of interpreting in crisis communication. This research identifies the strategies used by interpreters when operating in pandemic working environments and compares their cognitive load and physiological stress changes within and outside contexts of crisis communication. We hypothesize that interpreters experience greater psychological stress and an increased cognitive load which adversely affect their interpreting in crises compared to normal situations. To test this hypothesis, an experiment combined eye-tracking technology with Heart Rate and Galvanic Skin Response technology. 25 novice interpreters interpreted simulated medical scenarios for a Covid-19 patient and a diabetes patient respectively. This is one of the first studies to apply the multimodal approach of eye-tracking, HR, and GSR technology to record the physiological stress and mental status of interpreters. We advocate more systematic interdisciplinary research concerning interpreters’ stress in crisis communication, and outline recommendations for future crisis interpreting training and for individual professionals involved in crisis management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-488
Number of pages21
JournalThe Translator
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Medical interpreting
  • cognitive load
  • eye-tracking
  • interpreters’ stress
  • multimodal technology
  • risk communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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