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Ángela Collados Aís, Emilia Iglesias Fernández, E. Macarena Pradas Mecías and Elisabeth Stévaux (eds) (2011).

Qualitätsparameter beim Simultandolmetschen Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven. Tübingen: Narr Verlag, pp. 295, €64. ISBN: 978-3-8233-6637-9.

The following book is tied to preliminary research dated 2007: “La evaluación de la calidad en interpretación simultànea: parámetros de incidencia.” The research was part of a collaborative project carried out by researchers from four different universities (Granada, Córdoba, Jaume I and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria). This joint project aimed at assessing quality in simultaneous interpreting. In the following book, Collados et al. provide an in-depth look at the eleven quality parameters established by the research group.

To date there has been little research on quality assessment in Interpreting Studies, especially based in experimental data. Therefore, this book could be regarded as an innovative study in this field.

Due to the complexity of assessing quality in simultaneous interpreting, a multifaceted perspective is required. Therefore, this book aims to describe the established quality parameters by using a multidisciplinary approach. Within this context, the parameters considered belong to different disciplines, such as Linguistics, Psychology, Foreign Language Studies, Speech Therapy and Media Studies.

Their book is written for professionals, researchers, academics, as well as students seeking to improve and study their interpreting skills and effectiveness in depth.

The book is organised into ten chapters. Each of them focuses on a quality parameter starting with the first impressions of the simultaneous interpretation users. Later, ten other output-related quality parameters are described: voice, intonation, fluency, dictation, accent, logical cohesion, style, terminology, correct meaning transfer and consistent meaning transfer. Each chapter is structured with different subsections related to the parameter under study as follows: introduction, interdisciplinary approaches considered, outlook in Simultaneous Interpreting Studies, prospect for research, quality expectations and evaluation, résumé and outlook.     

In chapter one Olalla García Becerra begins by laying out the ‘first impression’ (Eindrucksbildung) of the simultaneous interpretation addressees’ and looks at how it affects the evaluation of the quality. Therefore, the author provides an insight of the user’s expectations, purpose and their stereotypes from a sociological point of view, which may influence the evaluation of the addressee. Furthermore, stimuli and non-verbal communication may also play an important role in the quality evaluation.  

In chapter two Emilia Iglesias Fernández outlines the ‘voice’ (Stimme) parameter, which in the interpreting research has been defined considering the voice quality and pleasantness. Hence the author considers the spectral speech properties, such as phonetics quality, pitch of the voice and tone colour, as well as the prosodic phenomena such as: tone, volume and length. In order to provide a definition of the term, the author relies on phonetics and psycholinguistics. Furthermore, to approach the perception question, the author takes the results from the social and cognitive psychology studies and also from the media studies.

In chapter three Rafael Barranco Droege, Ángela Collados Aís and José Manuel Pazos Bretaña provide an exhaustive analysis of the parameter ‘intonation’(Intonation). On the one hand, the authors refer to methodologies and results obtained in linguistics, psychoacoustics and foreign-language studies in order to describe the prosodic aspects of the interpreter performance and the communication function of the intonation. On the other hand, the authors approach the vocal expression and its associate perception following psycho emotionalresults.

In chapter four E. Macarena Pradas Macías examines the ‘fluency’ (Flüssigkeit) of delivery of the interpretation, which is based on a form-based parameter, as well as a content-based one. This parameter plays a major role in measuring the progresses made by the students in foreign-language studies. However, to establish the speaker’s results and the determination of the fluency in interpretation the author refers to disciplines such Linguistics and Psycholinguistics. In addition, further insights in Psychology and Sociology are made to provide a better understanding of the fluency parameter. 

In chapter five María J. Blasco Mayor analyses the ‘diction’ (Diktion) and looks at the clearness of the accent from the perspective of the phonetic articulation and psycholinguistic. Furthermore, the author also considers possible interlingual interferences and speech errors from the speech therapy point of view. Finally, the definition of the term diction in the field of simultaneous interpretation is provided referring to the media studies.

In chapter six Elisabeth Stévaux explains the ‘accent’ (Akzent) as found in non-native speakers. The author considers contributions, which deal with non-native pronunciation features, which have been developed from disciplines, such as Linguistics, Psycholinguistics and Speech Therapy. In addition, the author takes into account research based on comprehensibility, pronunciation training and evaluation developed in foreign-language studies. Finally, the author considers the results obtained on the impact on the user of a constant perception and the stereotypes, which affect the evaluation of a non-native simultaneous interpretation, from the social psychology and social linguistic disciplines.    

In chapter seven Amparo Jiménez Ivars argues for the creation of ‘logical cohesion’ (logischen Kohäsion) with regard to form and content levels by means of specific speech techniques and cognitive strategies, evaluating both levels from the perspective of psycholinguistic and foreign-language studies disciplines. Finally, considerations on the modification of both levels from the Translation Studies perspective are provided.

In chapter eight Jessica Pérez Luzardo Díaz and Rafael Barranco Droege present the parameter ‘style’ (Stil) of the target speech. For the definition of this complex parameter, the authors base their arguments on Stylistics and Translation Studies. This establishes a clear relation between the selection of a speech technique and the transfer of connotations and implications. Furthermore, on the basis of different style guides, the authors illustrate that traditional principles of the interpreters’ work are still valid.

In chapter nine Mercedes García de Quesada discusses ‘terminology’ (Terminologie) in the interpretation work, considering the correct and accurate use of the technical speech. The author highlights that the importance of communicative factors is gaining recognition, in modern terminology and documentation learning applied to Linguistics and Translation Studies. 

Finally, in chapter ten Marie-Louise Nobs Federer, E. Macarena Pradas Macías and M.ª Manuela Fernández Sánchez deal with ‘correct meaning transfer’ (korrekte Sinnübertragung) and ‘consistent meaning transfer’(vollständige Sinnübertragung), both considered closely related parameters from the translation, as well as the interpretation perspective. The authors point at the loss of importance of the correct sense transfer, arguing that the translator undertakes a more active role in the process of ‘meaningful creation’ (Sinnschaffung).    

Estel·la Oncins Noguer, Centre d'Accessibilitat i Intelligència Ambiental de Catalunya (CaiaC), Universitat Autónoma, Barcelona
E-mail: estella.oncins@uab.cat