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A Study on the Appropriateness of Presentation Rates for Simultaneous Interpreting of Korean Speech

CHOI MOON SUN 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

A presentation rate being ‘appropriate’ for simultaneous interpreting may refer to one that spares the interpreter additional efforts for decision-making on top of comprehension and rendition of the message. In interpreting studies, it is known that the rate of 100-120 wpm is optimal for simultaneous interpreting. However, whether this statement may also be applicable for Korean speech has not been empirically tested. This study aims to explore and identify the range of presentation rates appropriate for simultaneous interpreting from Korean to English with empirical data. Five professional interpreters performed simultaneous interpreting from Korean to English under three rate conditions of 200, 270 and 340 spm, without being informed of the rate change. After completing the interpreting task, the participants were asked to orally answer the questions regarding their perception of the presentation rates and their effects on interpreting performance. Analysis of the interpreting products in terms of omission, disfluency, pause and EVS revealed that omission increased significantly when the presentation rate rose from 270 to 340 spm while no significant difference was found between 200 and 270 spm. Analysis of oral responses showed that first, the participants perceived a marked change in the presentation rate only when the rate increased to 340 spm, which indicates that the range between 200 to 270 spm was being perceived as a single, homogeneous rate; second, the participants stated that they made a decision to select specific interpreting strategies, i.e. omission and summarization, in order to cope with the increasing rate when it went up to 340 spm. Taken together, these findings suggest that the appropriate range of presentation rate for Korean to English simultaneous interpreting may be found somewhere between 200~270 spm where the interpreters did not have additional burden of selecting and implementing specific interpreting strategies while omission stayed at a relatively low level. However, as was pointed out by some participants, the more ‘authentic’ rate was close to 340 spm, which was set as the highest speed in this study.

Citation status

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