Jan-Hendrik Opdenhoff – Better into B?

This is a short summary of a presentation given at the Second International Conference on Quality in Interpreting, in Almuñecar, Spain 2010. The summary my own perception of the presentation and any mistakes in the summary are of course due to my misunderstanding.

Jan-Hendrik Opdenhoff (University of Granada, Spain) reported on a web-survey of interpreters own perception of their performance into their B-language. He found that 55 % of the participants in his study found that they were better working into their A-language and 36 % were as pleased with working into their A-language as their B-language. The preference for direction did not correlate with interpreting training or the length of the stay in the B-language country. Except for interpreters who reported longer stays in the B-language country before the age of 15, for this group they were more at ease working into their B. There was also a difference in language pairs, some language pairs reported more ease working into their B-languages.

Another important factor is the listeners’ mother tongue. If your listeners are mother tongue speakers of your B-language then the listeners’ satisfaction becomes more important.

Referring to Gile’s quote that the perception of quality not the same among interpreters, listeners and researchers, Opdenhoff added that the interpreters’ perception of quality is the same as they expect their listeners’ perception of quality to be.


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