Konstantina Liontou – anticipation

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.

Konstantina Liontou, (University of Vienna) presented the results from a study on anticipation. According to Jörg Anticipation is prediction and interpretation of source text units before their actual utterance. Kirchoff claimed that experienced interpreters are seldom wrong about their expectations and that when errors are discovered they are corrected. The impact of erroneous anticipation is less sense consistency with the original. When Jörg tested this only 2,24% cases were found with erroneous anticipation.

The language pair German-Greek is an interesting study object in this respect since it presents several syntactic differences that create challenges for the interpreters. Challenges comprises verb position, position of negation particles

Liontou’s corpus consists of German and Austrian MEPs during the Parliamentary session. The topic was environment and the period from April 2006 to December 2008. The number of speeches was125. This yielded 2 x 5,5 hours of speech and interpreting and possibly involved16 interpreters.

The biggest challenge for Liontou when analysing the mateiral turned out to be how to you define erroneous anticipation contrasted with more general anticipation.

Liontou reached higher levels of erroneous anticipation than for instance Jörg did. When polishing away all the unclear cases she arrived at just over 8 % of clear cases compared to Jörg’s 2.24 %.

Despite the slightly higher level of erroneous anticipation it still represents very low levels and Liontou findings support Kirchhoff’s claim. An important finding that none of the errors detected were contre sense.


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