Users’ Quality Expectations in Conference Interpreting

Mansour Amini, Noraini Ibrahim-González, Leelany Ayob, Davoud Amini


This paper is part of an unpublished doctoral thesis on “Conference Interpreting in Malaysia”. Expectations of users were explored by an on-site questionnaire-based survey study in Malaysian conference interpreting setting. The relative importance of various linguistic and non-linguistic criteria for quality was obtained through quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. A reliable sample of 256 interpreting “users” (Cronbach alpha coefficient=0.81) were collected from five international conferences in Malaysia. Analysis of the results revealed that users attached high value to the linguistic criteria of sense-consistency with original message (94.1%), logical cohesion (91.1%), fluency of delivery (91%), correct terminology (89.8%), correct grammar (82.8%), completeness of interpretation (80.2%), synchronicity (73%), and style (70.5%) rating the criteria very important or important. The parameters of pleasant voice (60.9%), lively intonation (60.4%), and native accent (57.3%) were considered desirable, but not essential as they received the least importance by the users. Findings from the open-ended questions showed that users consider “wide range of topics” and “broadening one’s horizons” as the most interesting aspects of conference interpreting. Users indicated that they were willing to listen to the interpretation even if they understood it. These suggest that interpreters are seen as a professional source of knowledge from users’ perspectives. While stressing on the linguistic aspects and the importance of output-related quality criteria, the researcher calls for taking further notice of situational particularities and background variables, pragmatic communication issues, and contextual features with a more extensive view of the profession, in addition to the methodological issues that have always been argued in interpreting quality research.


Quality expectations; Users; Conference interpreting;

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