New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Effect Of Prosodic Feature Awareness Training On Intelligibility Of Speech By Interpreter Trainees: An Experimental Study

Mahmood Yenkimaleki, Leiden University (The Netherlands)


The present study investigates the effect of prosodic feature awareness training on the intelligibility of speech by interpreter trainees. Two groups of student interpreters were formed. All were native speakers of Farsi who studied English translation and interpreting at the BA level at the University of Applied Sciences in Tehran, Iran. Participants were assigned to groups at random, but with equal division between genders (7 female and 7 male students in each group). No significant differences in English language skills (TOEFL scores) could be established between the groups prior to the experiment. Participants took a pretest of speaking skills before starting the program so that their speech intelligibility level was rated. The control group listened to authentic audio tracks in English and discussed their contents, watched authentic English movies, discussed issues in the movies in pairs in the classroom. The  experimental group spent part of the time on theoretical explanation of, and practical exercises with, English prosody. The total instruction time was the same for all three groups, i.e. 14 hours. Students then took a posttest in speaking skills so that the effect of treatment on the intelligibility of their speech would be assessed. The results show that the prosodic feature awareness training significantly improved the students’ speech intelligibility. These results have pedagogical implications for curriculum designers, interpreting programs for training future interpreters, material producers and all who are involved in language study and pedagogy.


Key words: Prosody, speech intelligibility, awareness training, interpreter trainees, curriculum design


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