Effect of prosody awareness training on the quality of consecutive interpreting between English and Farsi
Consecutive interpreting allows two persons who do not understand each other’s language, to communicate through a bilingual intermediary: the interpreter. Typically, interpreters are native speakers of one language but not the other. The extent to which student interpreters’ performance is improved by making them aware of prosodic differences (word and sentence stress) between native and foreign language, was investigated for Iranian participants with Farsi as the native language and English as the foreign language. Effects were tested both in recto (from foreign English into native Farsi) and in verso interpreting (from Farsi into English). Interpreting quality was judged by experts on ten rating scales, relating to accuracy of interpreting as well as to intelligibility and pleasantness of the delivery. Objective correlates of the subjective ratings (e.g. counts of errors and hesitations, acoustic fluency measures) were established. Prosody training yielded better interpreting quality on all rating scales in recto interpreting, especially on fluency. In verso interpreting the overall gain was smaller, and with a trade-off between interpreting accuracy and fluency. In follow-up experiments better word recognition and comprehension of the English input was found. Explicit prosody training had a greater benefit than implicit prosody training. Prosody awareness training made a smaller contribution than training segmental differences between English and Farsi, i.e., the pronunciation of vowels and consonants. This dissertation will be of interest to experts on translation and interpreting studies, as well as to curriculum designers and developers of teaching materials in the field of interpreting.