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Aptitude to Interpreting: Preliminary Results of a Testing Methodology Based on Paraphrase

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Document généré le 27 août :05 Meta Journal des traducteurs Aptitude to Interpreting: Preliminary Results of a Testing Methodology Based on Paraphrase Mariachiara Russo et Pippa Salvador Volume
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Document généré le 27 août :05 Meta Journal des traducteurs Aptitude to Interpreting: Preliminary Results of a Testing Methodology Based on Paraphrase Mariachiara Russo et Pippa Salvador Volume 49, numéro 2, juin 2004 URI : DOI : Aller au sommaire du numéro Éditeur(s) Les Presses de l'université de Montréal Résumé de l'article Cet article présente les premiers résultats d une étude longitudinale appliquée à un échantillon de 46 étudiants de la SSLMIT de Trieste. L objectif de l étude est la mise au point d un test d aptitude pour les candidats aux cours universitaires d interprétation de conférence. Le test consiste en un exercice de paraphrase en simultanée. L analyse linguistique des prestations selon trois niveaux, syntaxique, sémantique et pragmatique, a permis d établir des corrélations, significatives au point de vue statistique, entre les résultats du test, les notes aux examens et le temps employé par les étudiants pour conclure leur formation en interprétation. ISSN (imprimé) (numérique) Découvrir la revue Citer cette note Russo, M. & Salvador, P. (2004). Aptitude to Interpreting: Preliminary Results of a Testing Methodology Based on Paraphrase. Meta, 49 (2), Tous droits réservés Les Presses de l'université de Montréal, 2004 Ce document est protégé par la loi sur le droit d auteur. L utilisation des services d Érudit (y compris la reproduction) est assujettie à sa politique d utilisation que vous pouvez consulter en ligne. Cet article est diffusé et préservé par Érudit. Érudit est un consortium interuniversitaire sans but lucratif composé de l Université de Montréal, l Université Laval et l Université du Québec à Montréal. Il a pour mission la promotion et la valorisation de la recherche. bloc-notes 409 ges mis en scène. La médiation verbale y est largement renforcée. Par ailleurs, la trame narrative est altérée par des erreurs de traduction. Il y a là de nombreux indices d une transformation délibérée par la traduction-adaptation. Celle-ci est conçue comme une opportunité de repositionnement de la sitcom, avec l hypothèse d une demande différente du public français. Toutefois, les altérations de la trame narrative et les incohérences de reciblage montrent que la traduction-adaptation souffre tout de même d une insuffisance des moyens consacrés au travail de la post-production. La traduction-adaptation est conçue pour faciliter l introduction et la diffusion de la sitcom dans le pays destinataire. Cependant, telle qu elle est menée, cette traduction-adaptation engendre délibérément des artefacts qui altèrent l identité originelle de l œuvre par le lissage, voire la trahison, de ses multiples particularités. Nous sommes donc bien en présence d un conflit entre les impératifs économiques et la dimension culturelle, liés à un produit audiovisuel. La demande exprimée par une partie du public pour un plus grand maintien de l originalité des sitcoms 1 contredit le préjugé, largement partagé par les professionnels et les responsables commerciaux, selon lequel la traduction implique une profonde adaptation. L idée reçue d un antagonisme entre l authenticité culturelle d un produit et les exigences commerciales mériterait un réexamen. La multiplication des chaînes accessibles, notamment étrangères, et la progression des échanges culturels conduisent le public à évoluer. Il se pourrait que le public soit en mesure d apprécier les produits audiovisuels dans toute leur originalité. Quoi qu il en soit, la politique menée par les commanditaires et les professionnels de la traduction-adaptation des produits audiovisuels s inscrit dans une vision réductrice, voire régressive, du public. Yannicke Lebtahi Université de Lille 3, Lille, France NOTES 1. Suite au succès de la diffusion en V.O.S.T. de Friends sur Canal Jimmy, le public français a pris connaissance de la possibilité de recevoir une version plus originale. France 2 ayant acquis les droits, elle se contenta d une diffusion exclusive en V.F. Les réclamations indignées du public la conduisent après bien des atermoiements à programmer enfin la V.O.S.T. en fin de soirée. RÉFÉRENCE Jost, F. (1999) : Introduction à l analyse de la télévision, Paris, Ellipses. Aptitude to Interpreting: Preliminary Results of a Testing Methodology Based on Paraphrase RÉSUMÉ Cet article présente les premiers résultats d une étude longitudinale appliquée à un échantillon de 46 étudiants de la SSLMIT de Trieste. L objectif de l étude est la mise au point d un test d aptitude pour les candidats aux cours universitaires d interprétation de conférence. Le test consiste en un exercice de paraphrase en simultanée. L analyse linguistique des prestations selon trois niveaux, syntaxique, sémantique et pragmatique, a permis d établir des corrélations, significatives au point de vue statistique, entre les résultats du test, les notes aux examens et le temps employé par les étudiants pour conclure leur formation en interprétation. ABSTRACT This article presents the first results of a longitudinal study involving a sample of 46 students of the SSLMIT of Trieste. The study aims at developing an aptitude test for candidates to Conference Interpreting courses at university level. The test is based on an exercise of simultaneous paraphrasing. The linguistic analysis of the performances at syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels has shown statistically significant correlations between the test results, the marks of interpreting exams and the time spent by the students to complete their training in interpreting. MOTS-CLÉS/KEYWORDS predictivity, coherence, syntax transformation, synonym, deletion 1. Introduction To what extent conference interpreters are a product of nature or nurture is still a moot point in the interpreting community. However, the need for candidates to harbour legitimate academic and professional 410 Meta, XLIX, XLVIII, 2, 3, aspirations and for the Interpreting Schools to optimise their human and financial resources have spurred many efforts to devise and implement selection practices (Gerver et al. 1984, Gran and Dodds 1989, Lambert 1992, Arjona-Tseng 1994, Moser-Mercer 1994). Intuition and experience amongst professionals and/or trainers indicate that basic pre-requisites of a good professional interpreter are: profound knowledge of active and passive languages and cultures, ability to grasp the original meaning quickly and to convey the essential meaning of what is being said, ability to project information with confidence, coupled with good voice, wide general knowledge and interests and, finally, ability to work as a member of the team (Gerver et al. 1984, Lambert 1992). The purpose of our research is to investigate the second pre-requisite, i.e., the cognitive-linguistic component. In order to do so rather than concentrate on separate task components through separate tests as authoritatively done by previous researchers, especially by Gerver et al. (1984), we followed an ecological approach and chose a task as close as possible to actual simultaneous interpreting which involves connected discourse processing. The testing methodology we are suggesting is based on an on-line oral paraphrase from Italian into Italian 1. It was presented during the International Conference Interpreting in the 21st Century. Challenges and Opportunities as work in progress (Pippa and Russo, forthcoming). In that presentation, paraphrasing as a comprehension and production evaluation tool (Mortara Garavelli 1979, Marinetto 1998, Lumbelli and Mortara Garavelli 1999) and its similarities with the interpreting process (Moser 1983, Lambert 1989, Malakoff and Hakuta1991, Anderson 1994, Danks et al.1997) were also explained in detail. In the literature, the validity of paraphrase as a promising diagnostic tool was already suggested by Moser (1983) who observed that her students who performed poorly in paraphrasing obtained the lowest final score in the introductory course to simultaneous interpreting. Later on Moser-Mercer (1985) published data on paraphrasing as an item of a promising multi-task aptitude test. However, no specific indication of its load to the overall positive results was provided. Assuming the predictive validity of paraphrasing per se for its psycholinguistic implications, we focussed on it and set out to find objective categories to describe the manyfold linguistic reformulations with related semantic and pragmatic shifts and to assess the predictive value of the methodology suggested. In the present paper we will briefly present the paraphrase evaluation model as it has been further developed since its first presentation and its empirical application to 46 subjects with the results obtained. 2. Development of the model: from a synthetic score to a three-tier analytical assessment 2.1 Early model: description, application and results The proposed evaluation model is based on a three-level analysis: syntax and lexicon (text manipulation), semantics (meaning manipulation) and pragmatics (speaker s communicative intention manipulation). It is the result of a long process entailing reflection and empirical work on the most suitable evaluation criteria as what follows shows. Originally (Russo 1989), the variable aptitude to interpreting had been operationalised into negative and positive operations both cognitive and linguistic, scored either positively or negatively (+1, +0,5 and 0,5, 1 respectively) in order to obtain a synthetic, i.e., a single numerical value (test score). The categories envisaged were: 1) Application of macrorules on the incoming pieces of information (+1): for semantic abstraction via construction (SA): any single piece or sequence of pieces of information may be replaced or conceptualized by one denoting a global fact of which they are constituents (i.e.: the segment Italians cast their vote to elect their representatives could be substituted with Italian elections ) for semantic abstraction via generalisation (Ge): any single piece or sequence of pieces of information may be replaced or conceptualized by a general one denoting an immediate superset (i.e., in June, July and August during Summer); 2) Active storage (AS) of incoming linguistic occurrences in short-term memory so as to facilitate their processing, with subsequent permutation of the sentence segments during the message output (+1). If the original utterance starts as follows The proposal we have endorsed and therefore will vote [ ] there is evidence of AS if the subject waits before speaking and then produces an utterance like We will certainly vote for the proposal we fully support [ ]; 3) Syntactic and/or semantic anticipation ability (+1); 4) Paradigmatic 2 replacement of a phrase (PR) ( The response of the European Parliament The stance taken up by the European Parliament) (+1); bloc-notes 411 5) Ability to detect and modify a paradigmatic structure from the syntactic point of view so as to be more concise (+0,5) ( If Europe wants to wage an effective war against terrorism, if Europe wants to isolate and deter its supporters she must follow another strategy [ ] For a successful war against terrorism and its supporters, Europe must follow [ ]); 6) Deletion (De) of: a main nucleus (noun phrase and modifiers) (-0,5) an important secondary nucleus (specification, etc.) (-0,5) advisable deletion (AD), i.e., deletion of an unimportant secondary nucleus; 7) Form-linked errors (Fo) of various types, including stylistic imperfections, wrong collocations, violations of combinatory rules or grammar mistakes, provided comprehension of the output text is not hampered (-0,5); 8) Loss of cohesion (LC): wrong reproduction of the grammatical links in the target text to the extent that its content becomes difficult to make out (i.e., incorrect agreement of subject and verb separated by an embedded sentence) (-1); 9) Loss of coherence (CoL): the text produced by the subject lacks its internal logical links between the pieces of information, consequently, the text world reconstructed by the receiver is incomplete and lacks its consequential and informative aspects. This is the cause and at the same time the effect of the previous condition (-1); 10) Semantic error (SE): the comparison between the source and target texts shows that original pieces of information have been replaced by incorrect ones (including misinterpretation) (-1). The following features were also taken into consideration: 11) Deletion of a whole sentence: for each deleted sentence (-1); 12) Length of the performance (i.e., all of the 12 sentences of the original text were reproduced) (+1); 13) Fulfilment of the task with breaks: each request to stop the tape-recorder and consequent break received a score of (-1); 14) Fulfilment of the task without breaks (+1). Some of the cognitive operations envisaged by this model were taken from Kintsch and Van Djik (1978) (1) and from Beaugrande and Dressler (1981) (6 and 9). They were adopted because they suitably highlight the interpretation process usually considered a black box (Mackintosh 1985). On the one hand, macro-rules are often interpreters strategies too. On the other, the text world with primary and secondary concepts is a logico-semantic network which helps detect interpreters comprehension and information selection processes, provided that the source text (ST) and the target text (TT) are analysed and matched accordingly. In the academic year the original test was administered to 20 second-year students of the Scuola Superiore di Lingue Moderne per Interpreti e Traduttori (SSLMIT) of the University of Trieste, whose gender composition and age appears to be fairly representative of the overall second year population (tab.1): Tab.1. Student sample (Subjects) vs. total SSLMIT second-year student population (All). Sex Mean Age Males (%) Females (%) All 30 (9.9) 272(90.1) 22.7 Subjects 4 (20.0) 16 (80.0) 21.0 The same test was also administered to four interpreting students who had passed their final exams (advanced subjects) and who were asked to deliver both a paraphase and a simultaneous interpretation into English of the same text, so as to observe possible similarities in the processing skills of the two groups, and within the same group for both tasks. The application of this model provided the following results (Russo 1989): the test score obtained by the twenty 2 nd -year subjects ranged between +8 and -8. During the first observation based on a comparison between the performance of the 2 nd -year subjects and that of the advanced subjects, the most salient results were: 1) in many cases, both groups (2 nd -year vs. advanced subjects) performed the same operations on given target information nuclei (1989:62); 2) as expected, the performance of the advanced subjects was more faithful and complete in both tasks (they reproduced all main information nuclei), 412 Meta, XLVIII, XLIX, 2, 3, which did not always occur in the performance of the 2 nd -year subjects. This seemed to indicate that selection and production skills were developed by training; 3) memory resources were better tapped by advanced subjects, as shown by their frequent recourse to active storage this provided an indication of the effects of memory jogging; 4) on the whole, only a few 2 nd -year subjects showed a remarkable aptitude to select the incoming message autonomously while preserving formal and semantic continuity throughout the whole text; 5) generalisation was the strategy most frequently implemented by both groups of subjects. During the second observation in March 1991 (Russo 1991), only twelve 2 nd -year subjects out of the original twenty were taken into consideration because they had sat at least one interpreting exam (5 had not passed the diploma exam required to start the interpreting course (3rd year), 2 had abandoned the interpreting course and 1 had not sat any exam yet). Expressed in percentage terms, as a sheer indication, of the group of 2 nd -year subjects who had a test score 0 (g roup A, 8 subjects), 4 had sat one or more exams successfully (50%), whereas none of the other group (group B, 4 subjects) had taken any exam (100%). During the third observation in March 1992 (Russo 1993), it was noticed that out of the original sample of 20 2nd-year subjects only 19 had actually started the two-year interpreting course. However, during the first year of training there was a 11% drop-out rate (from 9 to 8) in group A and a 50% rate in group B (from 10 to 5). Therefore the sample went down to 13 subjects, and then to 12 when another student subsequently abandoned the course. In order to measure the possible predictive value of the subjects performances as assessed by the test proposed originally, their test score was correlated with the following measures: a) number of 2ndyear subjects who had completed the course (or were about to do so) and number of students who had abandoned it; b) average mark obtained by each student in interpretation exams 3 throughout the twoyear course 4 ; c) success rate, expressed as the difference between the number of exams sat and the number of those actually passed; d) number of passed exams out of the total number envisaged by the curriculum; e) number of sessions actually needed to complete the course. Only the correlation between the test score and the number of exams passed yielded statistically significant results r(12)=.56; p .03. This result seemed to indicate a meaningful correlation between the time required to complete the interpreter course as indicated by the number of exam sessions needed (performance) and the cognitive and linguistic skills displayed in performing a task similar to simultaneous interpreting (with the exception of the code-switching factor) such as paraphrasing (aptitude). In other words, this observational study provided a measure of school efficiency for candidates wishing to start their training in Conference interpreting, given their natural linguistic and cognitive abilities as assessed by the test. The small sample, however, did not warrant any reliable generalisation about the predictive value of the test. Therefore, in order to obtain a larger sample, between the academic years 1990/1 and 1993/4 5, the same test was administered to a larger number of 3 rd -year students 6 who had not been exposed to interpreting techniques yet. The research project was longitudinal, as the test results were to be correlated with the time needed to complete the interpreting exams in the curriculum and with the corresponding average mark. Therefore the test had to be administered to the largest possible number of subjects, some of whom would presumably abandon the interpreting course (in which case their test score would no longer be taken into consideration, since it could not be correlated with the data of the two above-mentioned variables). The sample was taken from the total 3 rd year interpreting population according to the following procedure. To make sure that the sample would reflect all the subgroups present in the overall population, an intentional sample was selected, i.e., a deliberately chosen sample and not a casual one (Boncori 1993: 81). The random choice method would not have been feasible given the scant interpreting population. Attention was paid, however, to ensure that these subgroups were proportionally representative of the specific strata taken into consideration (female/male; B 7 language: English/French/German). Our sample was therefore intentional, stratified and proportional (1993:81). The following tables show data relative to the total student interpreter population (Italian mother-tongue students enrolled in the academic years 88-89; 90-94, tab. 2) and to the sample taken from it (tab.3) Tab.2 Total 3 rd year interpreting population in the academic years and Total student Male Female English French German population Total Dropouts 2.2 The present three-tier model The suggested three-tier model (syntax and lexicon, semantics and pragm
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