Aligning simultaneous interpreters’ training with the South African Translators’ Institute’s requirements
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In a globalised and linguistically diverse world, simultaneous interpreting (SI) has become increasingly important. Similarly, in the field of higher education (HE), a high premium is placed on the accuracy of information that multi-lingual and multi-cultural students and academics receive. Therefore, the competence and skill of simultaneous interpreters have become of high priority in the fields of linguistics and HE. In addition, the South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) has set the standard for regulating the qualities and traits of a professional accomplished simultaneous interpreter. Consequently, the study was executed to establish whether there is alignment between HE SI training and SATI’s requirements for accredited interpreters. A literature study on SI within the HE context delineating the construct, clarifying concepts and contextualising it within the framework of language practice and translation. A discussion of the process highlighted the practical procedure, challenges of SI and the training thereof. In this qualitative, HE case study a purposeful sample of nine HEIs trainers and SATI board members was conducted to gather data from two qualitative questionnaires during 2017-2019. The main findings of this study indicated that there is partial alignment between SA HEIs’ syllabi (with the UFS as an example) and SATI’s requirements for quality SI (see Table 3.1). The SI participants’ experiences and perceptions confirmed the training methods and outcomes and assessment criteria stressed in the literature review perspectives regarding SI training. The sample was small, for this reason the data of the study cannot be generalised. One of the recommendations that emanate from this study includes that the 16 identified learning outcomes could serve as a basis for SI HE trainers, e.g. teaching methods, integration of academic studies, theory and practice and appropriate learning material. The integration of these materials and methods could assist SI trainers and benefit students. Although the alignment between SI training and SATI’s requirements was partial, it confirmed that necessity of quality SI training in order to ensure that simultaneous interpreters deliver high-quality work and remain in demand. SATI’s requirements for accreditation remains important for SI practitioners which provided the simultaneous interpreter with more opportunities and legitimate credentials in future.