This is a short summary of a presentation given at the Second International Conference on Quality in Interpreting, in Almuñecar, Spain 2010. The summary is my own perception of the presentation and any mistakes in the summary are of course due to my misunderstanding.
Emilia Iglesias Fernández (University of Granada, Spain) presented a study on the speaker’s articulation rate and it’s effect on interpreting diffculty. A fast speech rate is an indicator of difficult and early estimations said that a comfortable speed was around 95-120 words per minute. However mean speech rate in the European Parliament is about 160 words per minute according to Manuel (2006) among others. The perception of temp is personal because many other features are important not only speed, speaker*s style for instance. This is also what Pöchhacker argued in 1994 when he said that a text delivery profile was necessary.
The study was a phonetic analysis including speech rate, pauses, articulation range and pitch range. She wanted to explore whether there was a possibility that fast listener oriented speeches were more interpreter friendly than slow message oriented speeches. She could conclude that the pitch is more varied in the fast listener oriented speeches and that the pauses are different in distribution and character.