Modeling the relationship between utterance fluency and raters’ perceived fluency of consecutive interpreting
Fluency is an important, yet insufficiently understood, construct in interpreting studies. This article reports on an empirical study which explored the relationship between utterance fluency measures and raters’ perceived fluency ratings of English/Chinese consecutive interpreting. It also examined whether such relationship was consistent across interpreting directions and rater types. The results partially supported the categorization of utterance fluency into breakdown, speed and repair fluency. It was also found that mean length of unfilled pauses, phonation time ratio, mean length of run and speech rate had fairly strong correlations with perceived fluency ratings in both interpreting directions and across rater types. Among a number of competing regression models that were built to predict raters’ fluency ratings, a parsimonious model, using mean length of unfilled pauses and mean length of run as predictors, accounted for about 60% of the variance of fluency ratings in both directions and across rater types. These results are expected to help create, rewrite and modify rubrics and scalar descriptors of fluency scales in rater-mediated interpretation assessment and to inform automated scoring of fluency in interpreting.
Keywords: utterance fluency, perceived fluency, consecutive interpreting, directionality, rater type
Published online: 20 March 2020
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