Article published in:Translation and Interpreting Pedagogy in Dialogue with Other Disciplines
Edited by Sonia Colina and Claudia V. Angelelli
[Benjamins Current Topics 90] 2017
► pp. 103–127
L2 proficiency as predictor of aptitude for interpreting
An empirical study
This study reports findings from an experiment that was conducted to investigate language proficiency as an indicator of future interpreting performance. The initial assumption was that Spanish undergraduate translation and interpreting students had an insufficient command of L2 skills to start interpreter training. We hypothesized that an intensive teaching module on L2 phonology and listening comprehension would improve their academic performance in interpreting. Several tests were used to evaluate participant L2 listening comprehension (TOEFL), L2 reading comprehension (TOEFL), L2 grammar (TOEFL), and L1 verbal fluency (WAIS-III). Only those related to L2 are reported here. A consecutive interpreting test was given at the end of the first interpretation module. The students’ self-perception regarding L2 issues was assessed using two questionnaires and an interview. The results suggest that L2 listening comprehension training aided in consecutive interpreting performance. Language proficiency was also found to correlate with interpreting scores. A base level of L2 proficiency for interpreting training is suggested. We conclude that L2 listening comprehension proficiency has a significant effect on undergraduate students’ interpreting ability and is therefore a suitable predictor for interpreting aptitude. Consequently, L2 listening skills should be included in the interpreting program curriculum, preferably before interpretation classes start.
Keywords: action research, aptitude, consecutive interpreting, interpreter education, L2 listening comprehension, L2 proficiency
Published online: 30 June 2017
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