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[Leeds Interpreting Studies Seminar Series] Eye-tracking in Cognitive Studies of Interpreting: Progress, Challenges and Perspectives

Interpreting Studies
research talks

Speaker: Dr Xingcheng Ma

Moderator: Prof. Binhua Wang


It has been decades since eye-tracking was first applied to cognitive studies of interpreting. Eye-tracking allows for a nature and unintrusive recording of interpreters’ eye movements, shedding light on their cognitive effort, strategic behaviors, and attention allocation during interpreting process. Traditionally, eye-tracking research in interpreting has primarily focused on linguistic transfer, such as lexical and syntactic processing, within a psycholinguistic experimental framework. However, this approach, which often relies on strict variable manipulation, has overlooked the multi-dimensional and contextual nature of interpreting. This seminar presents a comprehensive review of the progress and challenges regarding eye-tracking methodology and its role in unveiling interpreters’ cognitive processing under dynamic, interactive, and multimodal working conditions. We will discuss the ‘technological turn’ in interpreting research and practice, including the influences of emerging artificial intelligence on interpreter’s cognitive processes and the challenge of maintaining ecological validity in experimental design within an eye-tracking paradigm. Specifically, the seminar introduced a corpus-based approach that integrated eye-tracking data into a broader and more robust analytical framework at the process-product interface. This approach is expected to contribute new insights into the cognitive complexities of interpreting in naturalistic tasks.

Speaker’s Bio:

Dr Xingcheng Ma is an associate professor at the School of Foreign Languages, Southeast University, China and a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Translation Studies, University of Leeds. She holds a PhD in translation studies from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research focuses on the cognitive processes of interpreting and translation by using empirical-experimental methods such as eye-tracking, key-logging, and think-aloud protocols. As the sole or first author, her work has been published in some of the leading peer-reviewed international journals in interpreting and translation studies, including Across Languages and Culture, Interpreting, Target, Babel, Foreign Language Teaching and Research (外语教学与研究) and Journal of Foreign Languages (外国语). Her projects on process-product integrative research on English-to-Chinese simultaneous interpreting have been funded by the China Ministry of Education Research Grant for Humanities and Social Sciences, and Social Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province.