- 論集 (ISSN:03891658)
- vol.55, no.1, pp.89-104, 2008-06
One of human-being specific activities, interpreting (oral translation), has been adopted as a popular method to enhance second language acquisition lately. The question, however, how interpreting is executed in human brains, remains largely unknown. In this paper, we present our fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) experimental results to investigate how cerebral cortices are activated when subjects are engaged in interpreting exercises. Twenty-one healthy, right-handed university student subjects participated in this study. We directly compared English to Japanese consecutive interpreting (EJ) to Japanese to English consecutive interpreting (JE) using subtraction method, as well as with sentence reconstruction tasks in Japanese (JJ) and English (EE), and with resting condition (Rest, or baseline). The direct subtraction analysis between EJ and JE left only a limited area: left superior temporal gyrus remained. In JE minus EJ (masked by EJ-Rest: P<0.05image), right and left precentral gyri, left thalamus, left and right superior temporal gyri, and left middle temporal gyrus are left, suggesting that JE recruited more extensive regions in comparison with EJ, despite that all sources of sentence recorded and used as stimuli were constructed to be at the same level of difficulty, either directly taken from MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) -authorized popular textbooks used in Japanese public junior high schools, or translation of such sources. The conditions EJ, EE, and JJ showed very similar patterns of cortical activation, indicating that the conditions recruited similar brain regions: left and right superior temporal gyri, mainly left middle temporal gyrus,, left inferior frontal gyrus (opercular part and triangular part), left temporal lobe's lateral surface, and mainly left supplementary motor areas. EJ and JE commonly activated Inferior frontal gyri (opercular part and triangular part) and supplementary motor areas in both hemispheres. Kawashima (2004) reports that even a different-activity-related cortical activation serves as a preparatory activity for the individuals' following activity and enhances learning or delays development of dementia in older subjects. From the results, we infer that EE and JJ sentence reconstruction exercises that activated similar regions to those activated in consecutive interpreting might fit the purpose of consecutive interpreting training preparation.