(Para)linguistic Correlates of Perceived Fluency in English-to-Chinese Simultaneous Interpretation

Chao Han


(Para)linguistic parameters (e.g., un/filled pauses, speech rate) are believed to underlie perceived fluency of simultaneous interpretation (SI). Little research, however, is available to ascertain whether and to what extent these (para)linguistic measures of SI fluency correlate with fluency ratings provided by human raters. This exploratory study investigates three questions: a) how nine selected (para)linguistic parameters correlate with each other, b) how the parameters correlate with rater-generated fluency ratings, and c) which parameter or a combination of parameters could best discriminate an interpreter into pre-determined groups of interpretation fluency. The major results are: a) three underlying dimensions of the perceived fluency emerged, including breakdown, speed, and repair fluency, b) speech rate, phonation/time ratio, and mean length of a run had higher correlation with the fluency ratings, and c) speech rate and phonation/time ratio were the best possible predictors of the interpreters’ group affiliation. Implications of the results are discussed regarding fluency assessment in SI.

Keywords: Correlation, Disfluency, Fluency, (Para)linguistic Parameters, Simultaneous Interpretation

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