Some interpreting strategies, such as anticipation or compression, have attracted a lot of scholarly interest since the 1970s. To this group belong, first of all, the strategies which are detectable by means of product-oriented research. More recently, the use of process-oriented methods (such as retrospective verbal protocols) has led to the identification of numerous other strategies, whose existence, in many cases, was postulated by practicing interpreters engaged in interpreting research.
Careful analysis of the material obtained in an experiment involving interpreting tasks followed by retrospection (36 subjects, two interpreting directions, six source texts) reveals that there are two distinct groups of strategies. The first group, resembling compensatory strategies as defined in second language acquisition research, comprises strategies which are employed in order to deal with concrete problems that come up during interpreting. Many of these have already been described by conference interpreting research. The second group, however, comprises strategies which cannot be linked with overcoming specific difficulties. It seems that their role is generally to make the interpreter's task easier. I refer to them as overall comprehension strategies. They have not been thoroughly described or examined yet.
In my presentation, I would like to focus on overall comprehension strategies such as, among others, visualization and personal association. Definitions of the various strategies will be accompanied by examples from retrospective verbal protocols. The other questions I would like to raise include the frequency with which these strategies are reported, their dependence on the interpreting direction and their influence on the quality of the target text.