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Comparing modes of communication: The effect of English as a lingua franca vs. interpreting - In: Interpreting 15/1

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Abstract

This paper addresses the topic of quality assessment in interpreting, from a perspective that defines quality as equivalent effect of source text and target text. The experimental study described uses an innovative methodology based on comprehension testing, to evaluate the widely accepted norm that an interpretation should produce the same effect — in the sense of effect on the listener’s knowledge of a specific subject — as the original. More specifically, the study compares communicative effect between a marketing-related speech of about 15 minutes in non-native English and its simultaneous interpretation into German. The comparison is thus between two directly competing modes of communication, the use of English as a lingua franca being seen by many interpreters as a threat to their profession. Three experimental runs were completed, involving an Italian speaker comfortable with English as a medium for lecturing and a total of 139 listeners attending professionally oriented Austrian university courses. Results showed that in this setting the interpretation led to a better cognitive end-result in the audience than the original speech in non-native English.

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... Furthermore, experiments have already shown that familiarity with non-native speech and contact with non-native speakers (NNS) are the most relevant factors for NNS intelligibility, with a statistically significant difference between listeners of NNS with and without this type of experience (Reithofer 2013, 67, Reithofer 2014. ...
... As explained elsewhere (Reithofer 2010(Reithofer , 2013(Reithofer , 2014, interpreters should accept that ELF does serve its purpose in many settings and recognise that interpreting and ELF are complementary modes of communication: i.e. plenary sessions or webstreamed events with interpreters vs. informal communication settings with ELF. A very negative stance or even resentments towards NNS might be detrimental when having to interpret them. ...
... Settings where interpretation presents an added value would have to be identified and contrasted with situations in which interpreting might indeed be less needed. Users and professionals alike would have to be made aware of the pros and cons of ELF and interpreting respectively (Reithofer 2013(Reithofer , 2014 in order to be able to react appropriately to this new work reality. ...
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This paper seeks to give an overview of the current status of multilingualism and interpreting in the EU institutions at a time when English is increasingly used as a lingua franca. It examines the use of English in the different EU bodies and the extent to which ELF (English as a lingua franca) has an impact on the use of other languages. After evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of an English-only EU, the reactions of interpreters and interpreting services to the rise of ELF are analysed. In closing, the article reviews possible strategic actions the interpreting services could endorse in order to facilitate a more realistic and less resentful response to an inevitable phenomenon.
... Researchers conducting this type of study have manipulated the parameters to explore their impact on the evaluation of interpreting quality, first providing instructions to the interpreter (e.g., Collados Aís 1998;Pradas Macías 2003) and then introducing the manipulation with computer tools (e.g., Holub 2010; Rennert 2010). Other studies in this category have analyzed corpora of actual interpretations (e.g., Ahrens 2005).Collados Aís 2008 During this time, comprehension of the interpretation has been introduced as an element that could affect quality (Holub 2010;Rennert 2010;Cheung 2013), and other aspects have been explored with a view to shedding more light on quality, such as the influence of English as a lingua franca on the effectiveness of the interpretation (Reithofer 2013), the application of speech acts theories as a new way of studying quality evaluation (Vuorikoski 2012) Research has also continued on expectations, looking at differences among subject types and expanding the scope to include additional scenarios such as relay interpreting (Waliczek 2003) or film interpreting (Russo 2005). With the incorporation of new technologies, researchers have also discovered that the Internet can be a very useful tool for distributing questionnaires. ...
... In fact, the deficiencies of certain formal parameters not only affect the perception of the quality of an interpretation, but also may have a negative impact on the subjects' understanding (Holub 2010;Rennert 2010). It has also been shown that if comprehension is seen as a measure of the communicative effect of the speech, it may also be a valid method for evaluating the quality of an interpretation (Reithofer 2013), a conclusion that should be taken into account in future research in this area. ...
... Comparison of examination results in the area of Business Studies , Financial Accounting (Dafouz and Mar Camacho-Miñano 2016) and Engineering (Tatzl and Messnarz 2012) show no difference between learning in the L1 and L2 in all types of assessment format. An exception to this is a tightly-controlled study of interpreting by Reithofer (2013), who tested German L1 students' comprehension of a 15-minute speech on post-colonial economics -one group of students listened to the speech given in ELF by an Italian L1 speaker, and the other group listened to it simultaneously interpreted into German. The "interpretation into German" group scored consistently higher on the comprehension test than the ELF group. ...
... Here its understanding of how successful communication is maintained between speakers who do not share a first language is likely to be helpful in showing how knowledge is constructed and shared.c.Cognitive and empirical studies of content learning in English L2Since EMI stands or falls on the quality of student learning, it is on learning that EMI really needs to frame its research questions. There is a clear need for more empirical studies like those ofAirey et al. (2017), Dufouz andCamacho-Miñano (2016) andReithofer (2013), which explore learning in an EMI/ELF environment in relation to learning in comparable higher education L1 contexts. Although it is not financially practical for EMI courses to use interpreters rather than ELF speakers for lecturers, Reithofer's study shows that ELF lectures are not a particularly effective way of promoting understanding. ...
Chapter
This chapter describes the state of the art in internationalization of higher education and English-medium instruction (EMI), setting out the key concepts, research methods and controversial areas. There are two sections: the first looks broadly at internationalization as a field and the second at how it intersects with EMI, with recommendations for research and teaching. The chapter argues that the spread of EMI has outpaced research and that if the political-economic drive towards internationalization is to be successful and fair, researchers need to question whether EMI policies help the process of internationalization by producing sustainable economic and social development. It argues for a less ideological, more evidence-based and culturally-focused research perspective as a counterweight to the threat to cultural identity posed by internationalization exclusively through English.
... With studies so far having concentrated on the effect of non-native accents on the interpreting task (especially McAllister 2000;Sabatini 2000;Cheung 2003;Kurz 2008) and the advantage of having the non-native speaker's first language as one of the interpreter's working languages (see Taylor 1989;Basel 2002;Kurz and Basel 2009), consideration of (p. 192) the wider impact of ELF on interpreting has only just started to take off (see Albl-Mikasa 2010, 2012a, 2013bReithofer 2010Reithofer , 2013. It has become clear from this research that interpreters are disconcerted by the unprecedented spread of English as a global lingua franca. ...
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At the crossroads of English as a lingua franca (ELF) research and interpreting studies, it is paramount to examine why interpreters are at odds with ELF communication in general and with the effects of the output of the growing number of non-native English conference speakers on their work in particular. On the basis of a small-scale case study, the stumbling blocks resulting from non-native English input are examined. The findings point toward what may be a major impediment: activation and retrieval constraints can result from ELF speakers’ restricted power of expression and have an adverse effect on the interpreter’s inferential processing and target text rendering. In the discussion, it is argued that a key problem for devising compensatory (strategic or didactic) measures may lie in the unpredictable and open-ended nature of the means of expression creatively constructed by ELF speakers, which makes it extremely difficult for interpreters to build up a stock of resources that will match the ongoing input items, allowing them to function as activating cues.
... The findings described below are part of a larger research project (Reithofer 2013(Reithofer , 2014 that compared the effect of ELF and interpreting. In what follows, I will only report the part regarding ELF. ...
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This article aims at examining the topic of ELF intelligibility from the interpreters’ perspective. Therefore, the focus is put on listener factors affecting intelligibility in settings typical for interpreting i.e. monologic settings. Data from various intelligibility studies are compared with results from a study that tested an ELF user’s intelligibility in a conference-like ELF setting and examined the influence of listener variables such as background knowledge, familiarity with ELF use or proficiency in English. In this study, an Italian speaker gave an impromptu speech in English to participants who subsequently were asked to answer written questions on the topic. The results showed that listeners with more experience in ELF settings reached the highest score in the test, while participants with specialist knowledge were unable to profit from it. The participants’ English language skills played a rather subordinate role. The findings of this study may prove useful for considerations in interpreter training and can contribute to the development of concrete, evidence-based training methods for interpreters in the interpreting sub-skill of comprehension.
... Basel (2002) finds in her PhD study (including 6 professional and 12 student interpreters) that ELF speech production may result in considerable loss of information in interpretations and that knowing the ELF speaker's mother tongue (Ll) greatly facilitates the interpreters' task. In the second PhD study, Reithofer (2010Reithofer ( , 2013 uses comprehension testing as a means of measuring communicative effect in an audience of 58 listeners and provides evidence that the understanding of source speeches in conference settings can be significantly higher among conference participants listening to the interpretation into their mother tongue than those listening to the non-native English original, even when they share the same technical background as the non-native English speaker. In addition, a recent study based on an MA thesis (Guggisberg and Talirz, 2013) and involving one ELF speaker and one native English speaker (NES) as well as 6 professional conference interpreters concludes that there are clear differences in the way a NES and an ELF speaker verbalize technical conference input (on the basis of the same PowerPoint slides) with measurable impact on the interpreters (Albl-Mikasa, Guggisberg and Talirz, in preparation). ...
Article
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The global spread of English as a lingua franca (ELF) has major implications for the interpreting profession. Not only is English the main conference language, but source speeches are increasingly produced by non-native English speakers. Research into ELF has concentrated on the description of ELF as a legitimate use of English in its own right and as an asset to achieve communicative goals in international contexts (Seidlhofer, 2011). lnterpreting studies, by contrast, address the critical stance of professional conference interpreters towards ELF developments and seek to explore the challenges ELF presents to their profession and to successful communication. Empirical evidence regarding ELF and interpreting is still scarce and not very robust. The paper brings together the results produced so far. Major problems identified on the part of ELF speaker source text production are lack of express-ability, varying proficiency levels, register shifts, and massive L 1 transfer on the part of ELF speakers (Albl-Mikasa, 2010, 2013a, 2013c), but also difficulties arising from the specific nature of interpreter-mediated working conditions (Reithofer, 2010, 2013). The paper concludes by outlining the new research questions these challenges put to the study of interpreting.
... Consequently, ITELF-related research has begun to question the effectiveness of ELF as a communication tool. Reithofer ( 2010Reithofer ( , 2013, for example, tested comprehension to determine communicative effectiveness of input and provided evidence that the understanding of source speeches in conference settings can be significantly higher among conference participants listening to professional interpretation into their first language (L1) than those listening to the ELF original, even when they share the same technical background as the speaker. Similarly, a statistical analysis of EU data led Gazzola and Grin (2013: 104) to conclude that the EU' s 'multilingual, translation-based language regime is both more effective and more fair than a unilingual regime based on[ ... ] "'ELF"' and the latter 'would also probably be much more expensive'. ...
Chapter
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The ubiquitous use of English by non-native speakers has become a hallmark of modern communication, even in a multilingual country with several national languages such as Switzerland. This phenomenon has prompted a great deal of research into English as a lingua franca (ELF), with most of it devoted to documenting its spread and investigating its communicative effectiveness. What appears at first glance to be a practical solution to facilitate exchanges in business, finance, education and science has a downside, however, because producing and processing a foreign language can add to cognitive load and stress. Since by definition ELF is not the same as Standard English, additional effort must also be made on the part of native and non-native speakers alike to understand non-standard utterances. Professional interpreters and translators are especially affected by the increase in the use of ELF, because they have to cope with non-standard spoken or written input, respectively, while at the same time meeting high quality expectations for the target output. In this contribution, we explain where interpreting and translation studies converge with respect to the challenges associated with ELF and how process research techniques from the two disciplines can be merged in a mixed-method approach focused on determining the cognitive impact of processing non-standard language input. We suggest future directions in the under-researched area of interpreting, translation and ELF (i.e. ITELF) and outline what the implications of such research might be for model building, professional practice and training.
... As a source of motivation to study participants who are asked to understand the content of a SI, several investigators have required participants to take a comprehension test before assessing the quality of SI. These include Holub (2010), who studied the effect of intonation on comprehension; Rennert (2010), who investigated the influence of fluency on quality assessment; Cheung (2013), who researched the effect of SI with a non-native accent on the perception of SI quality; and Reithofer (2013), who compared an English presentation delivered by an Italian speaker and its German SI in terms of communicative effect on a Germanspeaking audience. Having participants complete first a comprehension test and then an assessment questionnaire actually reflects the increasingly frequent practice of including both these items in real-life evaluation procedures at the end of a conference. ...
Article
Anecdotes abound on interpreters being used as scapegoats, but without hard evidence. The purpose of this study was to observe whether Cantonese-speaking listeners blamed the interpreter for unsatisfactory scores awarded to them in a comprehension test, after listening to a simultaneous interpretation (SI) into Cantonese delivered with a non-native accent. After answering twenty comprehension questions, all 173 participants were shown their scores on a screen. In the neutral feedback group, participants viewed their real, unmanipulated scores. In the positive feedback group, two points had been added to the score; in the negative feedback group, two points had been deducted. Participants were unaware of this manipulation. After viewing their scores, they completed an electronic questionnaire on the quality of the SI. Between-groups comparisons showed that, in terms of SI quality perception, the neutral feedback group differed significantly from the negative feedback group but not from the positive feedback group. These findings suggest that participants in the negative feedback group attributed their unfavorable test results to the interpreter, who was treated as a scapegoat.
... As can be seen in the table, rater reliability was not an issue in the majority of the articles (n = 330, 73.8%). In a number of socalled 'quality assessment' experimental studies (e.g., Pradas Macías, 2006;Reithofer, 2013), service users were recruited as raters to evaluate interpretation performance. But this type of study generally aimed to examine perceived interpretation quality between different speech conditions, using each rater's rating as an independent measurement. ...
Article
The issue addressed in this study is the reporting practices of rater reliability in interpreting research (IR), given that the use of raters as a method of measurement is a commonplace in IR, and that little is known about to what extent and how rater reliability estimates (RREs) have been reported. Drawing upon 447 articles from 14 translation and interpreting journals (2004-2014), this mixed-methods study attempts to gain quantitative and qualitative insights into the reporting practices. Data analysis reveals that: 1) almost 90% of the articles that needed to report RREs failed to do so; 2) potential problems emerged from those articles that reported RREs: lack of distinction between rater consensus and consistency, underreporting, misinterpretation and misuse of RREs, and lack of justification for the use of rater-generated measurements for subsequent data analysis. These findings highlight an urgent need for increased author awareness of reporting appropriate RREs in IR.
Article
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The critical attitude of conference interpreters towards English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) has so far been downplayed by ELF researchers. This paper aims at detailing the experience of professional conference interpreters in interpreter-mediated ELF communication and argues that ELF research has a stake in looking into their complaints because this may produce a better understanding of a number of aspects of mediated and unmediated ELF communication. Interpreter experience may thus contribute to achieving a more comprehensive and balanced description of ELF.Die kritische Haltung von Konferenzdolmetschern gegenüber der weltweiten Verbreitung von Englisch als Lingua Franca (ELF) stößt immer wieder auf Skepsis bei ELF-Forschern. In diesem Beitrag geht es in der Auseinandersetzung mit (interview- und fragebogenbasierten) Erfahrungsberichten professioneller Konferenzdolmetscher zur gemittelten/gedolmetschten ELF-Kommunikation darum, die Bedeutung herauszuarbeiten, die eine Analyse der kritischen Dolmetscherstimmen für die ELF-Forschung haben könnte. Eine solche Analyse hat das Potential, zu einem besseren Verständnis der gemittelten wie ungemittelten ELF-Kommunikation und damit zu einer umfassenderen und ausgewogeneren Beschreibung von ELF beizutragen.
Article
With the spread of English as a lingua franca (ELF), interpreting researchers have started to explore its effects on interpreting quality and on the conference interpreting profession as a whole. This study is based on interviews with ten professional conference interpreters working with Chinese A and English B in Taiwan. We focus on their experiences of interpreting ELF speakers, with particular reference to their three most recent international conferences, exploring how the interpreters cope with the challenges involved and how they perceive the effects of ELF on their profession. Overall, a total of 25 conferences were included in the analysis, involving 235 ELF speakers. The results provide a comprehensive picture of how Chinese–English conference interpreters in Taiwan have risen to the challenge presented by the ELF phenomenon, after years of experience in dealing with the difficulties this often involves.
Article
Over 200 television channels in China broadcast news with signed language interpreting, making this one of the most visible forms of public accessibility for Deaf citizens. However, previous surveys have reported that most viewers have difficulty understanding the sign language interpreter. This experimental study examines how well a group of 49 Deaf individuals do, comparing their level of comprehension with that of twenty hearing viewers whose medium of access to program content is spoken Mandarin. All participants completed simple comprehension questions, in written form, after viewing twenty short news clips. These were shown once to the hearing viewers, and twice to Deaf viewers so as to compensate for any intrinsic difficulty related to the limited visual clarity of televised signed language interpreting. Results show that, even with interpretation, the Deaf viewers do not benefit equally from the news clips. Analysis of the interpretations suggests that the interpreters’ lack of Chinese Sign Language fluency might have contributed to the Deaf viewers’ lesser comprehension. In addition to insufficient training, the high pressure the interpreters experience in relation to interpreting in media settings might have a negative effect on the quality of their interpretation.
Chapter
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1 Introduction In a globalized and globalizing world where communication settings diversify into different mediated and unmediated communication modes, including the use of English as a lingua franca (ELF), translation/interpretation, and multilingual practices, the impact on the interpreting profession is considerable. In this XX th FIT World Congress 2014 paper, I will summarize the findings of ELF-related interpreting research and detail the effects of the global spread of ELF on conference interpreters on the basis of findings from a 90,000 word corpus of in-depth interviews with 10 professional conference interpreters, a questionnaire survey among 32 professional conference interpreters, and a small-scale study of the interpretation of an interpreter trainee of three ELF speeches and retrospective interviews with the interpreter and the ELF speakers. Challenges arising from ELF developments will be sketched out with regard to the interpreters' working languages, processing, professional role and self-image, as well as entrepreneurial know-how.
Article
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Since English has become the dominant global language, research efforts have mostly concentrated on spoken English as a lingua franca (ELF). Written ELF is largely under-researched both in relation to translation and otherwise. This study examines ‘before and after’ texts made available by the European Parliament’s Editing Unit. The original texts were written by non-native English speakers (before) and subsequently revised by native English editors (after) with a view to delivering consistent edited source texts as a basis for translation into different EU languages. In a pre-study, 12 texts (and their edited versions) were scrutinised for potential translation problems. In the main study, three of the 12 originals and their three edited counterparts were translated by six professional translators. A mixed-method approach was adopted: product-based analysis of the translations for actual translation problems combined with screen-recording-prompted retrospective translator comments and screen-recording-based indicators for the time taken to translate edited and non-edited segments. The results suggest that there is a sufficiently large number of challenges arising from non-standard source segments to prolong translational decision-making and provoke inadequate solutions.
Article
With the rise of the use of English as a lingua franca (ELF), the number of conference speakers and attendees who use English is increasing. Simultaneous interpreting (SI) into and from English may be provided at conferences to meet the needs of individuals with differing levels of English ability. This paper reports on the findings obtained from two sets of experiments that explored the link between listeners’ perceived dependence on SI and their perceptions of its quality. The first set of experiments was conducted onsite and the second using a remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) setting. Native Hong Kong Cantonese-speaking participants were divided into two groups: one with Russian as the source language (SL) (Russian group) and the other with English as the SL (English group). Both groups listened to the same prerecorded simultaneous interpretation into Cantonese performed by a non-native interpreter. In the onsite setting, the Russian group perceived the non-native-accented interpretation more favorably than the English group did. This suggests that in onsite settings, perceived dependence on SI may be associated with perceptions of its quality; the greater the perceived dependence on SI, the higher the perceived SI quality. However, no significant differences were found between the two groups in the RSI setting. Factors such as the inaudible SL in the background, similar levels of perceived dependence, negative feelings about online learning and tensions in the state-society relationship may contribute to the similar quality perception ratings across the two RSI groups.
Article
There has been a tremendous increase in the number of published pedagogy-oriented translation and interpreting studies. This increase is associated primarily with establishing a number of international specialized journals. Since developing a typology of pedagogy-oriented translation and interpreting research is an important step in identifying what has been done and what still needs to be done in its areas, this paper reports an attempt to categorize the distinct areas of such research. Reviewing 208 studies published in 11 international journals in a 10-year period (2006–2015), the author identified 6 main types or areas of pedagogy-oriented translation and interpreting research: proposed training, training programme evaluation, assessment, translation and interpreting processes, translated and interpreted products, and professionals’ experiences and perceptions. The author highlights the main issues addressed and the ones left unaddressed in each of these 6 pedagogy-oriented research areas. The paper shows distribution differences in the translation versus interpreting studies within some research areas, and it ends with providing suggestions for further reviews of relevant studies.
Book
From tech giants to plucky startups, the world is full of companies boasting that they are on their way to replacing human interpreters, but are they right? Interpreters vs Machines offers a solid introduction to recent theory and research on human and machine interpreting, and then invites the reader to explore the future of interpreting. With a foreword by Dr Henry Liu, the 13th International Federation of Translators (FIT) President, and written by consultant interpreter and researcher Jonathan Downie, this book offers a unique combination of research and practical insight into the field of interpreting. Written in an innovative, accessible style with humorous touches and real-life case studies, this book is structured around the metaphor of playing and winning a computer game. It takes interpreters of all experience levels on a journey to better understand their own work, learn how computers attempt to interpret and explore possible futures for human interpreters. With five levels and split into 14 chapters, Interpreters vs Machines is key reading for all professional interpreters as well as students and researchers of Interpreting and Translation Studies, and those with an interest in machine interpreting.
Article
Does the particular prosody of simultaneous interpreting have an impact on comprehensibility? This paper presents an experiment that sought to answer this question. Two groups of listeners (47 with relevant contextual knowledge about the subject-matter of the speech and 40 with less contextual knowledge) listened to the interpretation into French of a 20-minute lecture in German under two conditions (the actual interpretation and a read-aloud rendition of the transcript of the interpretation by the same interpreter) and answered comprehension questions. The prosodic features of the two conditions were analysed, and differences regarding the temporal organisation of speech, disfluencies, pitch register and the interface between prosody and syntax emerged. Simultaneous interpreting was found to be more monotonous, to contain a larger number of short and long silent pauses, more hesitations (“ euh ”) and more non-syntactic pauses as well as to have a more irregular speech rate. The read-aloud version was livelier, with more medium-length silent pauses and almost no hesitation. Results of the comprehension questionnaire do not demonstrate that interpreting-specific prosodic features affect comprehensibility to a significant extent. This is consistent with professional norms of interpreting in specialised conferences, where verbal aspects have priority over non-verbal ones.
Chapter
This chapter highlights translation and interpreting assessment research. The chapter covers seven key areas of this translator and interpreter education research type. These areas are: surveying translation and interpreting assessment practices, validating translation/interpreting tests, identifying the difficulty level of the source text, developing performance assessment rubrics, examining rating practices and testing conditions, developing translation/interpreting motivational scales, and investigating user evaluation/reception. In the sections covering these areas, the author discusses the main research issues addressed and highlights exemplary studies representing them. Based on the overview given in this chapter, it is generally concluded that more issues have been researched on assessing interpreting than translation.
Article
This paper describes an experiment dealing with the manipulation of style in consecutive interpreting in the context of the law. In it, several groups of Spanish law undergraduates assessed two performances by a consecutive interpreter. The interpreter in both performances translated a German-language lecture on constitutional law into Spanish, the only difference between the two renditions being the style used in the target language: in one of them, plain language; in the other, a style reminiscent of complex traditional legal drafting. The results of this study are presented and discussed in this paper, which combines the issue of plain language in legal translation and interpreting, with the concept of style as a quality parameter in interpreting. These results, which suggest that even the most junior law students have a liking for conventional elaborate drafting, should serve as elements of reflection for trainers of both legal professionals and interpreters.
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This article discusses how the quality issue in conference interpreting can be approached using a scheme for quality assurance. Participants in conferences have different roles and not always the same preferences, while interpreters depend on speakers and may have to work for heterogeneous audiences. On the basis of a model of mediated multilingual conference communication, interpreting processes and conditions can be analysed with the aid of a list of parameters; the list can be used by clients and conference interpreters for their overall and personal quality assurance.
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Remarkably few studies have examined the outcomes of sign language interpreting. Three experiments reported here examine deaf students' comprehension of interpreting in American Sign Language and English-based signing (transliteration) as a function of their sign language skills and preferences. In Experiments 1 and 2, groups of deaf students varying in their sign language skills viewed either an ASL or English-based interpretation of a nontechnical lecture, followed by either a written comprehension test (Experiment 1) or a signed comprehension test (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 involved a more technical (physics) lecture, separate testing of students with greater ASL or English-based sign skills and preferences, and control of students' prior content knowledge. Results consistently demonstrate that regardless of the deaf students' reported sign language skills and preferences, they were equally competent in comprehending ASL interpreting and English transliteration, but they gained less knowledge from lectures than hearing peers in comparison groups. The results raise questions about how much deaf students actually learn in interpreted classrooms and the link between their communication preferences and learning. (Contains 1 table and 4 notes.)
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  Given the rapid growth in international contacts worldwide, English is increasingly becoming the chosen medium to facilitate communication among people of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. However, the question remains as to how non-native speakers of English of varying levels of proficiency, using different varieties of English, are able to arrive at mutual understanding in this medium. The paper addresses this question by offering some insights into the process of negotiating understanding in English as a lingua franca and the interactional procedures used in this regard. Fifteen hours of transcribed audio recordings of naturally occurring spoken interactions in English as a lingua franca (ELF), between participants of a range of first language and cultural backgrounds, were examined using conversation analytic procedures. Several interactional practices were identified as the ones utilized in the process of constructing shared understanding, namely repetition, paraphrase and various confirmation and clarification procedures. These procedures are strategically employed by both speaker and recipient as warranted by the local context to address problems of understanding when they occur. Thus, regardless of the participants’ use of different varieties of English at varying levels of competency, communication is successful as the participants make skilful and adept use of common, shared interactional practices to arrive at mutual understanding.
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This study investigated how native language background influences the intelligibility of speech by non-native talkers for non-native listeners from either the same or a different native language background as the talker. Native talkers of Chinese (n = 2), Korean (n = 2), and English (n = 1) were recorded reading simple English sentences. Native listeners of English (n = 21), Chinese (n = 21), Korean (n = 10), and a mixed group from various native language backgrounds (n = 12) then performed a sentence recognition task with the recordings from the five talkers. Results showed that for native English listeners, the native English talker was most intelligible. However, for non-native listeners, speech from a relatively high proficiency non-native talker from the same native language background was as intelligible as speech from a native talker, giving rise to the "matched interlanguage speech intelligibility benefit." Furthermore, this interlanguage intelligibility benefit extended to the situation where the non-native talker and listeners came from different language backgrounds, giving rise to the "mismatched interlanguage speech intelligibility benefit." These findings shed light on the nature of the talker-listener interaction during speech communication.
Article
The participation in juries by representatives of the community is a fundamental element of the administration of justice, and thus serves the interests of the State. Jury service, like voting, is a right and obligation of citizenship [of Australia]. (New South Wales Law Reform Commission, 2004, p. 2) The institution of trial by jury, although not without critics, has been regarded for centuries as a fundamental part of the administration of justice. Its features are credited with helping to secure the protection of the community from the tyranny of absolutism and the self-interest of the powerful, while reflecting democratic ideals and representing current social values and attitudes . . . The jury is thus a group of "ordinary" people, disinterested in the outcome of the trial, and independent of powerful and influential social forces. (NSWLRC, 2004, p. 13) In most English-speaking countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom, non-English speakers are not allowed to serve as jurors as they cannot access the language of the court. So what about deaf people? Some may be competent English users, but not able to access the language of the court due to not being able to hear it. But they could access all other written information in the form of evidence, testimonies, written confessions, and so forth. Currently, deaf persons cannot serve as jurors in Australia or in most other countries in the world. Debates over whether deaf people should be permitted to serve as jurors have long featured in legal journals (Golbas, 1981; Silas, 1993). Current policy in the majority of countries states that deaf people are not capable of serving as jurors, due to their "incapacity" or disability, that is, their hearing loss. The United States has led the way with respect to law reform on this issue, with many states now allowing deaf people to serve as jurors, and with provisions for interpreters for deaf jurors (Ellman, 1992; LSS, 2000). Deaf people cannot serve as jurors in British or Irish Criminal Courts due to legal issues with having a 13th person (i.e., an interpreter) in the jury room (Deaf Blawg, 2006; Enright, 1999); however, a deaf woman has served as a juror in a British Coroner's Court (Barber, 2005). With the introduction of the New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Bill before parliament in 2005 to have NZSL recognized as an official language and for use in legal proceedings,1 a deaf man residing in New Zealand was permitted to serve as a juror for the first time in a tax fraud case ("Deaf Man," 2005). In an interview with the New Zealand National Equal Opportunities Network, David McKee stated that he had been "quite excited about the jury duty because [he] knew [he]'d be breaking down barriers and opening doors for other Deaf people who in the future wanted to participate" (NEON, 2006). He also acknowledged that the judge might have been open to having him on the jury, and interpreters in the court and jury room, because of the NZSL Bill (Travaglia, 2005).
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On the assumption that interpreting can and should be viewed within a conceptual spectrum from international to intra-social spheres of interaction, and that high standards of quality need to be ensured in any of its professional domains, the paper surveys the state of the art in interpreting studies in search of conceptual and methodological tools for the empirical study and assessment of quality. Based on a selective review of research approaches and findings for various aspects of quality and types of interpreting, it is argued that there is enough common ground to hope for some cross-fertilization between research on quality assessment in different areas along the typological spectrum of interpreting activity.
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The study described in this paper aims to investigate whether monotony has a negative impact on audience comprehension. Whereas in previous research intonational deviations were produced mainly through voice acting, the present study employs digital audio editing to produce two versions of one and the same simultaneous interpretation. This method allows the researcher to modify intonation leaving other speech parameters unchanged. The material thus produced was validated by a pool of experts and submitted to several randomised groups of listeners in a simulated conference setting. Analysis showed that monotony can have a negative impact on both comprehension and the assessment of the interpreter's performance. These findings have major implications for both interpreting theory and practice.
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A test-taker's performance in a listening comprehension test is seen to be a function of at least two variables: his or her listening comprehension ability and the test method. To know how this trait-method unit works, it is necessary to look into the test-taking processes of test-takers. Accordingly, employing an immediate retrospective verbal report procedure, a study was conducted among Chinese EFL test-takers. The test format investigated was multiple-choice. The results identified the subjects' listening processes leading to comprehension and comprehension breakdowns and captured the effect of the multiple-choice format on the subjects' test performance. The immediate retrospection research methodology as applied to the test of listening comprehension was explored.
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This study uses the rule-space methodology to explore the cognitive and linguistic attributes that underlie performance on an open-ended, short-answer, listening comprehension test. This is the first application of the methodology to language testing. The rule-space methodology is an adaptation of statistical pattern recognition techniques applied to the problem of diagnosing the cognitive attributes (knowledge, skills, abilities, strategies, etc.) underlying test performance. The methodology provides diagnostic information about the individual test-takers on each of these attributes. Based on a literature search, attribute candidates were identified which seemed likely to explain performance on the listening test. Two rule-space analyses were carried out, and the final attribute list had 15 attributes, with 14 interactions. With this, 96% of the test-takers were successfully classified into their respective latent knowledge states, and given scores on each attribute. This result suggests that the rule-space methodology can be used to identify attributes underlying performance on language tests. The study also provided useful information about the listening construct.
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A great deal has been written about the pressures and strains imposed on interpreters working in international forums (Brislin 1976). Little serious empirical work has been undertaken, however, to identify the sources of stress acting on them. With the support of AIIC, a large scale investigation was carried out on conference interpreters throughout the world to highlight their problems.
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This is a report on a pilot project commissioned by the BBC in conjunction with the author's final MA dissertation for Durham University. The purpose of the research was to investigate British Sign Language (BSL) production on television and its comprehension by the viewing audience. The data analysis could then be used for programme decisions relating to cultural and linguistic specifications. This is especially pertinent in view of the current Broadcasting Act in Great Britain, which stipulates 1% of sign language transmission on all digital and terrestrial television by 1999 and an increase to 5% by 2009.1 In the original research, 70 hours of signed data were recorded. Individual profiles were made for each signer on a sample tape as well as a thorough description of a respondent group.The research focused on a comprehension test.This involved three group categories reflecting two varieties of sign language users, a group whose BSL is most informed (influenced) by English, another whose BSL is dominant, and a hearing (non-signing) group used for comparison. All sample and test responses were analysed and profiled in view of signing production and psychosocial treatment of the language. The use of sign language on television was compared with its wider use among deaf people.This paper summarises and concludes the discussion and recommendations that may be directly referred to by programme makers and translators/interpreters.2
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The irreversible adoption of English as Europe's lingua franca raises at least four serious issues of linguistic justice: unequal language-based economic rents, unequal share in the burden of language learning, unequal capacity to influence, and unequal respect for the associated identities. In each case, the nature of the problem is spelt out and solutions are proposed, on the background of an analysis of the micro-mechanisms that underlie the dynamics of secondary language learning and multilingual interaction.
Article
When understanding or evaluating foreign-accented speech, listeners are affected not only by properties of the speech itself but by their own linguistic backgrounds and their experience with different speech varieties. Given the latter influence, it is not known to what degree a diverse group of listeners might share a response to second language (L2) speech. In this study, listeners from native Cantonese, Japanese, Mandarin, and English backgrounds evaluated the same set of foreign-accented English utterances from native speakers of Cantonese, Japanese, Polish, and Spanish. Regardless of native language background, the listener groups showed moderate to high correlations on intelligibility scores and comprehensibility and accentedness ratings. Although some between-group differences emerged, the groups tended to agree on which of the 48 speakers were the easiest and most difficult to understand; between-group effect sizes were generally small. As in previous studies, the listeners did not consistently exhibit an intelligibility benefit for speech produced in their own accent. These findings support the view that properties of the speech itself are a potent factor in determining how L2 speech is perceived, even when the listeners are from diverse language backgrounds. a
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Despite momentous developments in the sociopolitics of the teaching of English worldwide, targets have generally remained tied to native-speaker norms. This paper argues that although this orientation is often recognized as inappropriate and counter-productive, it persists because discussions about 'global English' on the meta-level have not been accompanied by a necessary reorientation in linguistic research: very little empirical work has so far been done on the most extensive contemporary use of English worldwide, namely English as a lingua franca, largely among 'non-native' speakers. The paper seeks to demon-strate that this lack of a descriptive reality precludes us from con-ceiving of speakers of lingua franca English as language users in their own right and thus makes it difficult to counteract the reproduction of native English dominance. To remedy this situation, a research agenda is proposed which accords lingua franca English a central place in description alongside English as a native language, and a new corpus project is described which constitutes a first step in this pro-cess. The paper concludes with a consideration of the potentially very significant impact that the availability of an alternative model for the teaching of English as a lingua franca would have for pedagogy and teacher education.
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This paper shows a range of insights that can be gained for EAP listening comprehension pedagogy from the analysis of a representative authentic lecture. Based on a small survey of academic listening textbooks the salient features identified in the lecture are found to be absent from the textbooks. EAP listening instructors, it is argued, need to supplement their commercial texts by exposing their students to authentic lectures. Only in this way can they prepare them effectively for authentic academic listening.