Volume 5, Issue 3
  • ISSN 2352-1805
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1813
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Why are there so few male students attending the SSLMIT (Advanced School of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators) in Forlì? Why are interpreters generally women? Is there a biological or social explanation linked to gender differences in speaking abilities? This study is intended to provide an experimental analysis of possible differences and similarities between male and female students of interpretation. On the basis of the theories put forward by Gender Studies and a series of neuro-linguistic investigations on simultaneous interpreters, it seems that women and men in fact differ in the way they speak, communicate and also in their practice of interpretation. For this study, the interpretation mode chosen is consecutive and the linguistic combination is from German into Italian; the sample is made up of 14 women and 14 men, whose first or second foreign language is German. The texts selected for the CI (Consecutive Interpreting) present different linguistic features, topic, reading pace and length. The first is a speech, which deals with economic-financial matters, shows a high density of numerical expressions and specific sectorial terms. The second text is an article about health, which presents a considerable number of idiomatic expressions and terms related to the medical field. The comparison between the deliveries made by the interpreters of both sexes and the analysis of the answers provided by the questionnaires handed out to the students show some remarkable gender differences. Overall, it seems that male interpreters perform better as far as numbers, dates, and economic vocabulary are concerned, while female interpreters are better at handling figurative language and words related to health. Consistent with this finding, women maintained a higher degree of fluency in the delivery of the second text, while men were more fluent in the first. Although these results do not claim to be of statistical significance, they show that differences related to sex may have an impact on the performance of interpreters.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): consecutive intepreting; gender; idiomatic expressions; neurolinguistic; numbers
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