Putting interpreting admissions exams to the test

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With increasing numbers of students wishing to become conference interpreters, but limited capacities in most university degree programs, accurate admission testing is an important means of predicting an applicant’s chances of completing the program successfully. This article focuses on three aptitude tests for simultaneous interpretation: Pöchhacker’s SynCloze test; Chabasse’s cognitive shadowing test; and Timarová’s personalized cloze test. The test battery was administered at the start of the 2009/2010 academic year to students beginning the two-year Master’s program in conference interpreting (MA KD) at Germersheim. Correlations between test performance and subsequent exam grades at the end of the second semester were examined for all three tests. Given the large number of applicants each year, practical feasibility of the tests was taken into consideration with a view to scheduling the format and content of the entrance exam for the 2012/2013 academic year. In this perspective, cognitive shadowing was identified as the most useful test under the existing time constraints.


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