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Excluding the difficulties, mistakes of the original speech, how one's conf-interpreting should be evaluated?

As mentioned by senior AlmuteL, the performance evaluation of the conf-interpreting is somehow quite individual or personal; for sure this may cause more time and efforts loss for juniors along the way to become a qualified practitioner without a clear criteria in mind.

Is there any professional standards in this regard? from association, say, AIIC, or others? or can this be some quantative thing, just like we know, the normal speaking speed of a speaker is 150-250w/min.

I have a crazy idea, how I wish we have something like interpreting ISO standards, although it is only a small industry.

Thanks in advance. :-)

asked 31 Aug '12, 21:33

Paris%20Si%20de%20Chine's gravatar image

Paris Si de ...

edited 01 Sep '12, 09:08

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

Dear Paris,

There are indeed quite a number of colleagues who are dedicating a lot of their extra time in order to develop quality standards and a quality assurance system for conference interpreting. Organisations such as the European Patent Office in Munich have introduced a well-developed system and I know the heads of many International Organisations have done so as well and are discussing this topic trying to coordinate and/or update their efforts.

There are indeed even a number of articles and publications on the topic (probably many more - whoever knows of further publications, please feel free to add them to the list):

The first article on the list was written 12 years ago but is such a good compilation of what high quality conference interpreting is all about and of extreme help to beginners that I would like to mention it first. I don't know who the authors are - but I would like to thank them immensely for this work:


Practical guide for professional conference interpreters

Interpretation and Certification by Birgit Christensen

Qualitätssicherung beim Dolmetschen Prof. Dr. Sylvia Kalina

The way towards ISO certification – the experience of CRIC in Rome What does ISO 9001:2000 certification mean for an interpreters' cooperative? by Maureen Friedman

Letter from the Editor – standardisation and quality by Luigi Luccarelli and Danielle Gree

AMI opts for ISO certification by Paula Praloran

Quality and role: the professionals’ view by Ingrid Kurz, Franz Pöchhacker and Cornelia Zwischenberger


1998: Strategische Prozesse beim Dolmetschen. Theoretische Grundlagen, empirische Untersuchungen, didaktische Konsequenzen. Language in Performance Bd. 18. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.

2001: "Quality Requirements in Conference Interpreting". In: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Translation and Interpretation Studies: Theories of Translation and Interpretation & Problems in Korean Translation and Interpretation, Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea, 19-31.

2002: "Quality in interpreting and its prerequisites - A framework for a comprehensive view". In Interpreting in the 21st Century. Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Interpreting Studies, Forlì, University of Bologna (9-11 November 2000), Garzone, G. and M. Viezzi (eds). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, 121-130.

2005: " Quality assurance for interpreting processes”. In: Meta 50(2005)2, 769-784. (Special Edition, Hanne Lee-Janke, ed.)

2005: "Quality in the Interpreting Process: What Can be Measured and How?".In: Godijns, Rita & Hinderdael, Michael (eds.). Directionality in Interpreting. The ‘Retour’ or the Native?. Gent: Communication and Cognition, 27-46.

2005: "Dolmetschen: Berufsprofile im Wandel“. In: Mayer, Felix (Hg.). 20 Jahre Transforum – Koordinierung von Praxis und Lehre des Dolmetschens und Übersetzens. Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 41-59.

2006: "Zur Dokumentation von Maßnahmen der Qualitätssicherung beim Konferenzdolmetschen“. In: Heine, Carmen & Schubert, Klaus & Gerzymisch-Arbogast, Heidrun (Hgg.) (2006). Translation Theory and Methodology. Tübingen: Gunter Narr (= Jahrbuch Übersetzen und Dolmetschen 6). ...

2009 Zum Qualitätsbegriff beim Dolmetschen Kalina, Sylvia Quellenangabe: Lebende Sprachen. Band 49, Heft 1, Seiten 2–8, ISSN (Online) 1868-0267, ISSN (Print) 0023-9909, DOI: 10.1515/LES.2004.2, March 2009

2012 Dolmetschqualität in Praxis, Lehre und Forschung Festschrift für Sylvia Kalina by Barbara Ahrens, Michaela Albl-Mikasa and Claudia Sasse

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answered 01 Sep '12, 04:46

AlmuteL's gravatar image


edited 01 Sep '12, 07:59

Thank you for your time and great answering, also thank all the seniors/ authors of the works listed above and to be listed in the future.

Such a big collection of professional works in this regard is a big help for me and any other persons at my stage, and I thank you for your kind effort, because it is not easy to have all these gathered together; I will save it and learn it gradually.

(01 Sep '12, 06:23) Paris Si de ...

+1 Great compilation. Other works can be found clicking on the tags above, for instance:

(01 Sep '12, 06:58) Delete ♦

Hi, Nacho, thanks you. :-)

(01 Sep '12, 08:24) Paris Si de ...

Quality standards do not pronounce themselves on the quality of the finished product but only of the manufacturing or service delivery process, the "mechanical" expectation being that out of a good quality process a good quality finished product should normally emerge.

As the case often is when discussing these matters, I'm left with the impression that what's ultimately, even unconsciously, sought by some is a sort of scale with which one could determine how much better or worse eg "white" for "blanc" is vis-à-vis, say, "ivory" :-)... and I'm afraid that's simply not achievable, nor IMHO desirable.

The "clear criteria" you refer to, Paris, will have to be gradually built on the basis of one's own progress and self-criticism plus feedback from teachers, colleagues and audiences, raw or filtered.

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answered 01 Sep '12, 07:46

msr's gravatar image


Thanks for your kind answer. I understand, our work is to provide service other than some kind of products. Yes, the process deciding our service quality is inside our brain, which is invisible to the audience before the service is delivered. To better the work, the self-cultivation is important. I get to know solo-training is a problem, ... which I will seek to solve.

(01 Sep '12, 08:34) Paris Si de ...

Dear Paris, individual training is not such a problem any more since there are so many speeches available on the internet as can be seen here and we have all sorts of aoftware and hardware to record our interpretation. However, it is much better to find a colleague or more partners to work with. We have started to call this "Tandem work" and you may find some hints here: If you have any questions concerning tandem work, don't hesitate to write to me directly.

(01 Sep '12, 09:15) AlmuteL

Dear Almutel:

Thank you for your kind help and great resources; I will make good use of it. thank you. :-)

(01 Sep '12, 20:52) Paris Si de ...
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question asked: 31 Aug '12, 21:33

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last updated: 01 Sep '12, 20:52

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