Open access

Speed in simultaneous interpreting

Presented at100 years of conference interpreting, Geneva, 3-4 October
Publication date2019

Simultaneous interpreting (SI) is a highly complex cognitive process which aims to deliver a complete and accurate rendition of the original message in real time. Myriad factors can influence the process, speed being one of the factors most frequently considered by practicing interpreters as a major challenge. Against this background, we carried out a study to find out, empirically, what speed interpreters are currently confronted with. The aim of the study was to ascertain whether speed is high nowadays as is commonly stated in the literature and claimed by professional interpreters. Forty-five and sixty-two English and French speeches written to be read were randomly selected from the Plenary Sitting of the International Labour Conference (ILC) and the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), respectively, at two moments in time, 2013 and 2016, for the former, and 2011 and 2016 for the latter. The written texts of the speeches were downloaded from the ILO and HRC intranets, then the oral speeches were listened to from the webcast and the texts checked against delivery. Thereafter, the average speed was calculated in words per minute. The findings suggest an average delivery rate of 149 and 161 (HRC) and 142 and 130 (ILC), with a high variability between the different speeches. Results are similar for French and English speeches. These findings show that average delivery rate of speeches delivered at the HRC is very high, while the rate of those delivered at the ILC Plenary Sitting is high. The presenters will explore the potential implications of these results for the profession, training and multilingual communication.

  • Simultaneous interpreting
  • Stressors
  • Speed
  • ILO
  • UNOG
Citation (ISO format)
VARELA GARCÍA, Mónica, RUIZ ROSENDO, Lucia, BARGHOUT, Alma. Speed in simultaneous interpreting. In: 100 years of conference interpreting. Geneva. 2019.
Main files (1)
  • PID : unige:129083

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Creation01/20/2020 9:24:00 AM
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