A story of attitudes and aptitudes?

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Unlike in the early days of interpreter training, most student interpreters nowadays are still in the process of acquiring their target language(s), which raises questions as to which skills — linguistic as well as non-linguistic — may be required at the outset of interpreter training. This study focuses on individual difference variables and how these relate to interpreting students’ performance. It aims to investigate the ways in which the profiles of translation and interpreting students differ by obtaining information regarding their self-perceived communication competence, self-perception of language skills, anxiety levels and integrative motivation. These profiles are then related to the students’ sight translation performances, arguably a hybrid activity between translating and interpreting that is as cognitively demanding as simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. The students’ performances were assessed by a ‘blind judge’ along two parameters: (1) overall interpreting performance and (2) fluency. The results suggest that the two groups indeed differ significantly with regard to some of the individual difference variables. However, no significant correlations between these variables and students’ sight translation performance were found.


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