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Assessing Source Text Difficulty from Student Interpreters’ Perspective

CHOI MOON SUN 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Assessing source text difficulty is instrumental in selecting appropriate source texts for interpreting classes and tests, not to mention for interpreting research. Although there have been sporadic research attempts to identify source text-based factors influencing the difficulty of interpreting tasks, they have generally failed to yield consistent and reliable results with a few exceptions. This clearly indicates that this line of research, given its need and importance, requires further attention. Against this backdrop, this study is aimed at exploring indicators of source text difficulty in the context of interpreter training, specifically focusing on English texts used in English-to-Korean consecutive interpreting. Five second-year interpreting students from a prestigious MA interpreting program in Korea participated in the study. The participants performed consecutive interpreting of three English texts and rated their difficulty. The interpreting products were rated in terms of their accuracy. The difficulty ratings by the student participants were then compared with the textual features of the given STs, the interpreting accuracy scores, and the difficulty ratings by interpreting teachers generated in the author’s previous research. The results showed that 1) source text difficulty assessed by student interpreters did not reveal any significant correlations with the textual features examined, while the average T-unit length was deemed to be a potential indicator; 2) source text difficulty assessed by student interpreters had no significant correlation with interpreting accuracy; and 3) source text difficulty assessment by students were in line with that of teachers, which implies that judgment of teachers, at least those who are highly experienced in both teaching and practicing interpreting, could be an effective predictor of source text difficulty.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.