GARCIA adolfo Martin
congresos y reuniones científicas
Networking within: Connectivity approaches to the translating and interpreting brain
Congreso; 2nd International Congress on Translation, Interpreting and Cognition; 2019
Institución organizadora:
Johannes Gutenberg University
Brain-based research on translation and interpreting has been accruing steadily over several decades, yielding valuable insights on the functional organization and dynamic properties of the cognitive systems involved (Muñoz et al., 2018). Pioneering works profited from the lesion model approach, identifying critical brain regions supporting diverse operations implicated in varied interlinguistic tasks (García, 2015). Despite their contributions, these works were limited in that they provided no real-time information on the actual neural activity patterns underlying outward performance. Fortunately, this shortcoming was overcome with the advent of neuroscientific methods, which offered the opportunity to study the neurobiology of translation and interpreting in vivo (García et al., 2016).These techniques have been used repeatedly to assess both modalities in the last 25 years and they have informed several topics of importance to the field, even beyond the possibilities of non-neural approaches (García, 2019). However, most neuroscientific evidence on translation and interpreting has been obtained through regional approaches, whereby conditions of particular variables (e.g., translation direction, type of source unit) are linked to activity changes in individual brain areas (García, 2013). However, though hugely informative, these univariate approximations face a major caveat, given that cognitive operations depend on the interaction of distributed neural hubs (Mi?ić & Sporns, 2016). Therefore, a need arises for novel approaches that extend this dominant trend with relevant methodological tools. In recent years, important steps in this direction have been taken thanks to the incorporation of connectivity analyses. The present talk aims to summarize, discuss, and highlight the contributions of this incipient empirical corpus.First, I will discuss structural connectivity studies suggesting that experience in particular modalities is associated with anatomical changes in the fibers linking task-relevant areas. In particular, diffusion tensor imaging studies have revealed that professional and prospective simultaneous interpreters, relative to non-interpreter multilinguals, exhibit significant changes in pathways subserving sensory-motor coupling, cognitive control, and interhemispheric information transfer, among other functions (Elmer et al., 2011; Van de Putte et al., 2018). Notably, some of these changes seem to be triggered after only nine months of interpreting training (Van de Putte et al., 2018), indicating that this particular bilingual experience can induce fast neuroplastic adaptations.Second, I will review functional connectivity evidence showing that specific patterns of inter-regional coupling are driven by both expertise and translation directionality. For example, using resting-state electroencephalographic recordings, Klein et al. (2018) have shown that interhemispheric connectivity between ventrolateral and dorsolateral portions of the prefrontal cortex (a key substrate of cognitive control functions) is greater for simultaneous interpreters than control subjects. For their own part, García et al. (2016) have relied on intracranial recordings to show that L1-L2 translation, relative to L2-L1 translation, is characterized by greater coupling among frontal and temporal hubs. Taken together, these studies show that inter-areal information sharing is sensitive to both field-specific experience and task-related factors.Third, moving beyond connectivity proper, I will introduce emergent results from time-frequency analyses, which reveal the distribution of transient functional webs exhibiting event-related synchronization or desynchronization. Specifically, a pioneering report by Grabner et al. (2007) showed that the lexical frequency of source-language items during translation modulates distributed oscillatory activity in the theta and alpha bands, mainly over parietal and frontal regions, respectively. In addition, new data from my own lab indicate that simultaneous interpreters, compared to non-interpreter bilinguals, are characterized by increased delta-theta synchronization across fronto-temporo-parietal regions during word translation, and that the intensity of these patterns correlates with their response times in their dominant translation direction (namely, L2-L1). Succinctly, these findings suggest that both source-unit and subject-related variables also modulate the dynamics of functional webs recruited during translation.In short, the present talk aims to show how the neuroscience of translation and interpreting can reach important theoretical breakthroughs by complementing regional studies with insights from structural and functional connectivity research. Further work along these lines is bound to forge a promising avenue towards a co-constructive dialogue between neuroscience and cognitive translatology.ReferencesElmer, S., Hanggi, J., Meyer, M., & Jancke, L. (2011). 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