Bianca Prandi is a recent graduate of the Advanced School of Languages and Literatures, Translation and Interpretation (SSLLeTI) of the University of Bologna. She holds a BA in Intercultural Linguistic Mediation and an MA in Interpreting.She graduated with a dissertation on the integration of the CAI tool InterpretBank in the curriculum of interpreting students.She is currently working as a freelance translator and interpreter. Her working languages are English and German and she is studying Polish with a view to adding it to her language combination.Her main research interests are terminology management and Computer-Aided Interpreting.

Bianca Prandi

will present…

The use of CAI tools in interpreters’ training: a pilot study



In the last few years, technology has played an increasingly important role in interpreters’ training. The SSLLeTI of the University of Bologna currently offers students of the Master’s Degree in Interpreting a course in Methods and Technologies for Interpreting, which addresses topics ranging from terminology management to Computer-Aided Interpreting (CAI). A recent addition to the tools presented to students is InterpretBank, a software program designed to assist interpreters during their entire workflow, from conference preparation to interpreting in the booth (Fantinuoli, C., 2012).

We carried out a pilot study to collect information on the students’ approach to the use of CAI tools during simultaneous interpreting, i.e. to look up terminology in the booth. The study aims at gaining insight in the students’ use of CAI software in order to better integrate it in the curriculum by identifying potential issues and suggesting solutions. Our study investigates the students’ behaviour in the booth and their simultaneous interpreting output with a focus on the terminology used.

The study was conducted from October to December 2014, during the first semester of the academic year 2014/2015. 12 MA interpreting students took part in the study and were divided into two groups of 6 students each. The first group attended 1 introductory lesson during which the software program was presented and 3 lessons during which they practiced simultaneous interpreting in the booth with the support of the tool, while the second group attended 3 lessons on the program and practiced once in the booth. Students of the first group always worked with a different boothmate. This structure was chosen to verify whether more extensive practice in the booth helped students develop a personal and efficient way of using InterpretBank and at the same time to verify whether more guidance by the teacher resulted in greater awareness in the use of the software program.

At the end of the training stage, we ran an experiment with the 12 MA interpreting students with the aim of observing the behaviour of students during the simultaneous interpreting of terminology-dense texts (they were free to choose whether they wanted to look up terminology while interpreting or whether to leave this task to their boothmate) while using the CAI tool.

Students’ performances during the experiments were recorded via audio and video. The audio recordings of the students’ performances were transcribed and analysed by focusing on the terminology used and its compliance with the terminology present in the glossary provided. Video recordings of the students working in the booth were analysed to study the interaction with the boothmate, while an automatically generated LOG file and the video recordings of computer screens were used to verify what and how many terms had been looked up with the software program, as well as which research parameters had been chosen.

This data was interpreted correlating the observed behaviour to the terminology performance during simultaneous interpreting. The opinions of the students on the software were collected through a questionnaire and were compared with the results of this study.

Some key aspects emerged from data analysis. Experience seems to play a key role in helping students integrate the tool in their workflow in the booth. Students of the first group, who had practiced more, had fewer difficulties in helping their boothmate by writing down useful information even while looking up terminology. All students were able to conduct effective terminology searches (with an average 90% rate of terms correctly identified). Some students, however, tend to rely too much on the program, while others see it as a source of distraction and find it hard to focus on the delivery, as they concentrate excessively on the rendition of technical terms while using the CAI tool.

There is reason to believe the tool will prove a useful addition to the curriculum of trainee interpreters, yet more empirical studies are needed to test and possibly improve the way it can be integrated with current interpreter training approaches.