Note-taking in consecutive interpreting: New data from pen recording


  • Sijia Chen Macquarie University


consecutive interpreting, note-taking, pen recording, cognitive load


Note-taking provides a unique opportunity to investigate consecutive interpreting (CI). This study approaches note-taking from a cognitive perspective, combining product analysis with the process research method of pen recording. It investigates such variables as the choice of form, the choice of language, the relationship between note-taking and interpreting performance, and the relationship between note-taking and cognitive load in CI. In the context of CI between Chinese and English, the study finds that interpreters prefer language to symbol, abbreviation to full word, and English to Chinese regardless of the direction of interpreting. Interpreting performance is not directly related to either the quantity or the quality of notes; it is a function of both. Pen recording appears to be a powerful method to tap into the process of note-taking and CI, and the collected data could potentially serve as useful indicators of cognitive load.