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會議口譯服務品質模型與客戶期望分析

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(1)A Master Thesis Presented to The Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation National Taiwan Normal University 國立臺灣師範大學翻譯研究所碩士論文. SERVICE QUALITY MODEL & EXPECTATION ANALYSIS OF CONFERENCE INTERPRETING Understand Expectations of Clients and What Drives Their Favorable Behavioral Intentions. 會議口譯服務品質模型與客戶期望分析. Adviser: Dr. Tze-wei Chen 指導教授: 陳子瑋博士 Advisee: Vivienne Hsiaowen Lin 研究生: 林曉汶. February, 2014 中華民國一○三年二月.

(2) Table of Contents Table of Contents ...................................................................................................................................... i List of Tables ............................................................................................................................................ iv List of Figures ............................................................................................................................................v Abstract ......................................................................................................................................................vi 摘要 ......................................................................................................................................................... viii Chapter 1. Introduction .........................................................................................................................1 1.1. Background .............................................................................................................................. 1. 1.2. The Scope ................................................................................................................................ 3. 1.3. The Structure ........................................................................................................................... 5. Chapter 2.. Literature Review ............................................................................................................... 7. 2.1. Service Quality of Professional Service ............................................................................... 9. 2.1.1. Service Quality Theories ........................................................................................................ 9. 2.1.2. Professional Service and Why Quality Matters ................................................................ 20. 2.1.3. Application of Service Quality Theories in Professional Service Sector ...................... 21. 2.2. Conference Interpreting is A Professional Service .......................................................... 24. 2.2.1. Definition of Interpretation ................................................................................................ 24. 2.2.2. Types of interpreting service ............................................................................................... 25. 2.2.3. Interpreting as a Profession ................................................................................................ 27. 2.3. Service Quality of Conference Interpreting ...................................................................... 30. 2.3.1. Quality in Whose Perspective? ........................................................................................... 30. 2.3.2. The Norms~ Interpreters’ Perspective ............................................................................. 31. 2.3.3. Emerging Efforts in Understanding Users ....................................................................... 34. 2.3.4. Little Attention Paid to the Clients .................................................................................... 36. 2.3.5. The Missing Links and Challenges Faced ......................................................................... 37. 2.4. Service Quality, Satisfaction, and Profitability .................................................................. 39 i.

(3) 2.4.1. Service Quality and Satisfaction.......................................................................................... 39. 2.4.2. Service Quality and Profitability ......................................................................................... 40. 2.4.3. Hypotheses on Service Quality with Satisfaction and Behavioral Intentions .............. 42. Chapter 3. Research Methodology .................................................................................................... 45 3.1. Conceptual Model of Conference Interpreting Service Quality .................................... 47. 3.1.1. Service Delivery Dimension (Functional Quality) ........................................................... 49. 3.1.2. Service Product Dimension: Technical Quality ............................................................... 54. 3.2. Quality Expectation Assessment Instrument of Conference Interpreting .................. 59. 3.2.1. Part I. Assessing Expectation on Functional Quality: Service Delivery Dimension .. 59. 3.2.2. Part II. Assessing Expectation on Technical Quality: Service Product Dimension ... 62. 3.3. Operationalization of Hypothesis ...................................................................................... 64. 3.4. Survey Design........................................................................................................................ 65. 3.4.1. Questionnaire Development ............................................................................................... 65. 3.4.2. Pilot Testing and Adjustments............................................................................................ 66. 3.4.3. Sampling Procedures ............................................................................................................ 68. Chapter 4. Results ................................................................................................................................ 70 4.1. Sample Profiling .................................................................................................................... 71. 4.1.1. Profile of Practitioner Data ................................................................................................. 71. 4.1.2. Profile of Client Data ........................................................................................................... 73. 4.2. Results – I. Service Delivery Dimension ........................................................................... 77. 4.2.1. Responses on the 13 Statements ........................................................................................ 77. 4.2.2. Additional comments ........................................................................................................... 84. 4.3. Results – II. Service Product Dimension .......................................................................... 85. 4.3.1. Responses on the 13 Statements ........................................................................................ 85. 4.3.2. Additional comments ........................................................................................................... 90. 4.4. Tests on Hypotheses ............................................................................................................ 91. 4.5. Validity Test on the Questionnaire and Instruments ...................................................... 93 ii.

(4) 4.6. Gap Analysis ......................................................................................................................... 94. Chapter 5. Discussions and Conclusions ......................................................................................... 98 5.1. Service Quality Expectations .............................................................................................. 98. 5.1.1. Service Delivery .................................................................................................................... 99. 5.1.2. Service Product ................................................................................................................... 102. 5.1.3. Conclusions on Service Quality ........................................................................................ 103. 5.2. Service Quality, Satisfaction, and Behavioral Intentions .............................................. 105. 5.3. Application of Service Quality Instrument of Conference Interpreting .................... 106. 5.4. Managerial Implication & Recommendations ................................................................ 107. 5.5. Limitations & Future Research Direction ...................................................................... 108. Reference. ........................................................................................................................................... 111. Appendix 1. Survey Questionnaire (in Chinese) —Interpreter Version....................................... 118 Appendix 2. Survey Questionnaire (in Chinese) —Client Version ............................................. 122 Appendix 3. Quality Expectation Assessment Instrument of Conference Interpreting (English Version) .................................................................................................................................................... 127 Appendix 4. Measures Accessing Satisfaction and Behavioral intentions (English Version) ... 130 Appendix 5. Additional Comments on Service Delivery Quality .................................................. 131 Appendix 6. Additional Comments on Service Product Quality .................................................. 132. iii.

(5) List of Tables Table 2.1. SERVQUAL 5 dimensions and the description............................................................ 14. Table 2.2. Categorization of Interpreting Service ............................................................................ 26. Table 2.3. Comparison of Buhler’s and Kurz’ Result ..................................................................... 33. Table 2.4. Empirical studies on interpreting quality – Users’ Perspective ................................... 35. Table 3.1. 10 Dimensions and the Definition of Service Quality ................................................. 49. Table 3.2. Correspondence between SERVQUAL 10 dimensions and the Dimensions Revised. for this Study ........................................................................................................................................... 52 Table 3.3. Definition of the 5 Sub-dimensions of Service Delivery ............................................. 53. Table 3.4. Quality Attributes Tested in Major Empirical Studies on User Perspectives of. Conference Interpreting Quality........................................................................................................... 55 Table 3.5. 12 Attributes under the 4 Sub-dimensions of “Service Product” ............................... 58. Table 3.6. Statements for Assessing Expectation on “Service Delivery” of Conference. Interpreting, in correspondence to SERVQUAL .............................................................................. 60 Table 3.7. Statements for Assessing Expectation on “Service Product” of Conference. Interpreting .............................................................................................................................................. 63 Table 3.8. Statements Revision After Pilot Testing ........................................................................ 67. Table 4.1. Profile of Practitioner Data .............................................................................................. 72. Table 4.2. Profile of Client Data ........................................................................................................ 74. Table 4.3. Responses of Practitioners on Service Delivery Dimension- I ................................... 78. Table 4.4. Responses of Clients on Service Delivery Dimension - I .......................................... 80. Table 4.5. Responses of Practitioners on Service Product Dimension – I .................................. 86. Table 4.6. Responses of Clients on Service Product Dimension - I ........................................... 88. Table 4.7. Results of Correlation Analysis on 4 Hypotheses ......................................................... 92. Table 4.8. Price Premium Acceptable................................................................................................ 93. Table 4.9. Validity Test Results .......................................................................................................... 94. Table 4.10 T-Test Results .................................................................................................................. 95. iv.

(6) List of Figures Figure 2.1. Service Quality Model ...................................................................................................... 12. Figure 2.2. 10 Determinants of Service Quality ............................................................................... 13. Figure 2.3. Service quality model ....................................................................................................... 19. Figure 2.4. Model of Professionalization Process of Interpreting ................................................ 29. Figure 2.5. Perspectives on quality in interpreting .......................................................................... 31. Figure 2.6. Significance of quality criteria as seen by conference interpreters and delegates .... 33. Figure 2.7. Conceptual Model of Service Quality and Profitability .............................................. 42. Figure 3.1. Illustration of Research Framework ............................................................................ 46. Figure 3.2. “Service Delivery” and its Attributes in the Service Quality Model of Conference. Interpreting .............................................................................................................................................. 53 Figure 3.3. Service Quality Model of Conference Interpreting ..................................................... 58. Figure 4.1. Interpreting Experience of Practitioners ...................................................................... 73. Figure 4.2. Frequency of Using Conference Interpreting .............................................................. 75. Figure 4.3. Years of Experience Using Conference Interpreting .................................................. 76. Figure 4.4. Responses of Practitioners on Service Delivery Dimension - II ............................... 79. Figure 4.5. Responses of Clients on Service Delivery Dimension - II ......................................... 82. Figure 4.6. Result Comparison on Service Product Delivery Dimension ................................... 83. Figure 4.7. Responses of Practitioners on Service Product Dimension - II ................................ 87. Figure 4.8. Responses of Clients on Service Product Dimension - II .......................................... 89. Figure 4.9. Result Comparison on Service Product Dimension ................................................... 90. v.

(7) Abstract Since 20th Century, the conference interpreting community has been dedicating efforts in the search of “what it takes for excellence” in the profession. Regardless of the endeavors, frustrations have been experienced by the community in the pursuit of quality. With emerging efforts dedicated to understanding users, in absence of a valid quality measurement instruments that can be applied across the board, empirical studies in the field has limited comparability.. In addressing this issue, this study develops a service quality model and service quality measurement instrument to measure clients’ expectations in conference interpreting service. This model and instrument is confirmed with high validity, and can be used to learn clients’ expectations on service quality in different countries for comparison. It can also be expanded by adding/revising service dimensions or attributes for interpreting services in different settings. With this model and instrument, this study goes beyond the existing quality attributes embraced by the interpreting community which focus mainly on linguistic and interpreting skill related attributes, and introduces a new dimension of conference interpreting quality—the functional quality, then proves with findings that it is equally important as the technical quality to the clients’ perception of service quality.. As the first empirical study on client expectation regarding both the functional and technical quality attributes of conference interpreting, this study finds that though a “satisfactory level” of technical quality in conference interpreting is the prerequisite to positive quality perceptions and satisfaction of clients, beyond that level, functional quality starts to play a vital role. Interpreters who wish to advance their business should acknowledge the significance of functional quality, particularly the attributes related to attitude and communication.. vi.

(8) In proving the advantages of service quality in the context of conference interpreting, this study finds that the perceived service quality of conference interpreting has a positive correlation with client satisfaction, repurchase willingness, word of mouth, and price premium. These findings signify the critical role service quality plays in clients’ decision making process and imply that, to ensure client retention and gain referrals, conference interpreters need to deliver satisfactory service quality in terms of both technical and functional quality.. Key words: service quality, conference interpreting, client expectation, interpreter, SERVQUAL, professional service, satisfaction, client relationship management.. vii.

(9) 摘要. 20 世紀以來,口譯學界致力於“卓越品質”相關的研究,卻頻頻遇到瓶頸。由於缺乏 一個有效度且適用於不同口譯情境與背景的品質期望測量方法,即便有許多實證研究企 圖了解口譯服務使用者,卻因此無法相互比較,歸納出更進一步的結論與發展。. 針對這個問題,本研究發展出會議同步口譯的服務品質模型與服務品質的測量方法, 用以測量客戶對於會議同步口譯服務品質的期望。此模型和測量方法具有高度的信度, 可用以了解不同地區的客戶對於會議同步口譯品質的期望,並進行比較。不同口譯服務 類型或情境的研究也可以此模型與測量方法為依據,增加或修改部分服務品質項目,以 應用於不同的情境。本研究跳脫目前口譯界以語言及口譯技巧為主的品質範疇,提出會 議同步口譯的「功能性品質」(Functional Quality)面向,並透過實證研究證明,對於會議 同步口譯客戶所認知的服務品質來說,該面向的品質與「技術性品質」(Technical Quality) 同等重要。. 此研究首次針對會議同步口譯客戶在「功能性品質」與「技術性品質」的期望進行 研究。研究結果發現,對會議同步口譯的客戶來說,雖然一定程度的「技術性品質」是 滿意度的前提,但是在此之上,「功能性品質」開始扮演更重要的角色。希望有效推展 業務的口譯員,必須要意識到「功能性品質」的重要性,特別是有關「態度」與「溝通」 的品質項目。. 為了要證明服務品質可為會議同步口譯業務帶來優勢,本研究發現,客戶對於會議 同步口譯品質的認知與其滿意度、回購意願、口碑,與溢價皆呈現高度正相關的關係。 這個結果證明服務品質在會議同步口譯服務客戶的決策過程中扮演重要的角色;也意味 著,為了有效提升客戶關係管理,口譯員必須同時在「功能性品質」與「技術性品質」 兩方面提供優質的服務。 viii.

(10) 關鍵詞:服務品質、會議同步口譯、客戶期望、口譯員、SERVQUAL、專業服務,滿意 度,客戶關係管理。. ix.

(11) Chapter 1 Introduction. 1.1 Background The subject of “service quality” has been a top of the line topic in the practice and academic studies of business management, particularly for the service sectors. The main reason for the subjects’ prominence is intuitive: good service quality contributes to customer satisfaction, leading to positive business outcome for service providers. Such conventional belief, though still receive challenges now and then, has been proved in various empirical studies (Phillips, Chang, & Buzzell, 1983; Gale, 1982; Koska, 1990; Aaker & Jacobson, 1994).. Impressed with the mainstream trend of quality assurance across various industries in the 20th century, the conference interpreting community has started its endeavors in the search of “what it takes for excellence” in the profession (Schlesinger, 1997; Kurz, 2001). Theoretical and empirical studies on conference interpreting qualities emerged (Gile, 1991; Bühler, 1986; Kurz, 1989; Schjoldager, 1996; Pöchhacker, 2001; Kalina, 2002), and the focus expanded from identifying the norms among the interpreters (Bühler, 1986; Chiaro & Nocella, 2004; Angelelli, 2004) to learning the expectations of users (Kurz, 1993, 2001; Marrone 1993; Vuorikoski 1993, 1998; Kopczynski 1994; Moser 1996; Collados Ais 1998). As a conclusion of an international conference on interpreting in 1994, quality was defined as “… a function of the attainment of goals, and if the goal of interpreting is to satisfy the requirements of both speakers and listeners, the attainment of these goals amounts to quality” (Schlesinger, 1997).. Regardless of the endeavors, frustrations have been experienced by the community in 1.

(12) the pursuit of quality. In addressing the methodological difficulties of studies on quality, Gile had put it, “...the interpreting research community is still groping in the dark and has not found a valid, sensitive and reliable metric to measure interpreting performance” (Gile, in Niska 1999: 120 as in Pöchhacker, 2001). Several other researchers have called for better coordination in survey methods (Mack & Cattaruzza, 1995) or a standard questionnaire applicable to different interpreting settings, with the flexibility of adding questions specifically relevant to each case (Marrone, 1993).. As an attempt answering to the calls for a service quality measurement instrument of interpreting that can be applied across the boards and territorial boundaries to acquire more reliable information on user expectation and perception (Mack & Cattaruzza, 1995) for further analysis and comparison, this study aims at developing a service quality model and measurement instrument of conference interpreting.. The development of model and instrument in this study goes beyond the existing quality attributes embraced by the interpreting community which focus mainly on linguistic and interpreting skill related attributes. Supporting Kohane’s (2000) proposal to “broaden the field by moving from purely linguistic issues to pragmatic, communication issue”, this study looks into the functional quality aspect of conference interpreting by leveraging sophisticated service quality models developed in the service management field.. Meanwhile, as much as the interpreting community has reckoned the importance of understanding users’ quality expectation, little attention has been paid to the clients’ perspectives. Questions such as “Do our clients know what’s good for them? What do they expect, and what will make them happy with the service and product we provide?” (Schlesinger, 1997) and “How can they (clients) know for sure whether the service provided 2.

(13) is adequate?” (Garzone, 2002) are left unanswered.. Addressing to these questions, this study intends to learn clients’ quality expectation on conference interpreting service by using the service quality measurement instrument developed by this study. In order to show how this expectation is different from interpreters’ perception of clients’ expectation, same instrument is used to learn interpreters’ perception. Through comparison of the survey results gathered from the two subjects, the gaps or differences of service quality expectation can be identified, and insights on what clients want that interpreters are unaware of can be learned.. Furthermore, even though the interpreting community has long regarded quality assurance as the work ethic of this profession, and the advantages of service quality are intelligible, one may still argue “why bother?” In order to prove the advantages of service quality in the context of conference interpreting and to provide incentives for the community’s promotion of quality assurance, this study also intends to identify the relationship between service quality and. client satisfaction, as well as the impact of. service quality on clients’ behavioral intentions.. 1.2 The Scope Against the backdrop mentioned in the previous section, this study identifies the following questions for research and aims to achieve the following objectives:. Research Objectives:  Fist, develop a client-centric service quality model and the assessment instrument to measure interpreting service quality.  Second, understand how clients in Taiwan evaluate interpreting service quality: by 3.

(14) learning their expectations and perceptions of the interpreting service they have experienced.  Third, understand what interpreters in Taiwan think about clients’ expectation of quality and, by comparing this result with the clients’ feedback, identify the expectation gaps (if any) between clients and interpreters.  Fourth, identify correlations of interpreting service quality and clients satisfaction/behavioral intentions  Fifth, learn insights from clients’ and interpreters’ feedback, and propose recommendations on client relationship management of interpreting service.. Research Questions: . How to measure service quality of conference interpreting?. . What quality dimensions and attributes should conference interpreting service take into consideration when addressing to the clients’ expectation?. . How do clients evaluate interpreting quality? And what quality attributes do they value the most?. . Are interpreters’ perceptions of client expectations of service quality in line with the actual client expectations?. . Does better service quality lead to better client satisfaction?. . Will better interpreting service quality bring more business and profits?. While interpreting services come in different modes and settings, “conference interpreting” is chosen as the subject of this study for the following reasons: (1) It has been the subject of most empirical studies on service quality, so more references can be drawn to the development of its service quality model and instrument; 4.

(15) (2) It is considered the most expensive type of interpreting service and mostly used in large-scale international conferences; therefore its quality can be of a more critical issue to the clients than other types of interpreting.. With an intention to apply marketing theories in this study, management literatures on service quality, particularly those related to professional services, are reviewed to identify the relevant studies for reference. Once the key service quality theories to be applied in this study are identified, literatures on (conference) interpreting service quality are reviewed for the forming of the service quality model and instrument.. The method of questionnaire survey, with both rating and open-ended questions, is applied by this study to get both quantitative and qualitative results for analysis.. This study introduces a new dimension of conference interpreting quality—the functional quality, and proves with findings that it is equally important as the technical quality to the clients’ perception of service quality. Analysis on clients’ and interpreters’ ratings on the quality attributes and clients’ additional comments give answers to the questions, “What do clients want? What can make them happy?”, suggesting directions for interpreters to work on to achieve better service quality and client relationship management. Findings. and. analysis. on. the. relationship. between. service. quality. and. satisfaction/behavioral intentions provide information on what drives clients’ positive behavioral intentions, which can be leveraged by interpreters in strengthening the client retention.. 1.3 The Structure This study is divided into 5 chapters. Chapter 1 serves as the introduction to this study. 5.

(16) Chapter 2 reviews theoretical and empirical literatures on service quality and related constructs of management and conference interpreting. Chapter 3 discusses the research methodology of this study, starting from the forming of the service quality model, the measurement instruments, and hypotheses, to the development and implementation of survey, and data collection. Chapter 4 presents the survey results and findings, as well as tests on the hypotheses and analysis. Chapter 5 discusses further analysis on the findings and makes the conclusions and recommendations.. 6.

(17) Chapter 2 Literature Review. Service industry has been playing a dominant role in the global economy in the 21st century. According to a 2011 World Bank’s report, contribution of service sector to the GDP of major and emerging economies had exceeded 50%, or, if not, had been approaching 50% (Zhang, 2013). Such trend has encouraged and inspired a boom of literatures contributing to theories and concepts on service industry management. Among these efforts, “service quality” has been one major focus, as it is believed to make the decisive competence of a service provider for it to stand out from the competitors (Grönroos, 1984; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1985, 1988; Haywood-Farmer, 1988; Philip & Hazlett, 1997; Cronin & Taylor, 1992; Teas, 1993; Sweeney, Soutar, & Johnson, 1997; Dabholkar, Shepherd, & Thorpe, 2000).. Growth and advances of the service industry, expansion of global economy, and innovation of other industries have fueled the development and expansion of professional services. Today, many countries consider professional services as a key contributor to their economies. However, studies in the fields of many professional services and the management are still at an early stage. Therefore, when addressing the construct “service quality”, studies of professional service usually take 3 approaches: (1) Build from scratch the quality theory/standard for a specific professional service (Markovic, 2006). (2) Borrow and apply the mainstream theories and concepts of service quality from management studies (Carman, 1990; Headley & Miller, 1993). (3) Review previous attempts of the above 2 approaches, elaborate, and expand (Dagger, Sweeney, & Johnson, 2007). 7.

(18) This paper takes the third approach (the reasons are explained in later sections and Chapter 3). Therefore, the following sections will review theoretical/empirical literatures on service quality and related constructs from both studies of management and the professional service—interpreting service.. 8.

(19) 2.1 Service Quality of Professional Service This section discusses the mainstream service quality management theories, definitions of professional service, why quality matters, and applications of the mentioned service quality theories in professional service industry.. 2.1.1 Service Quality Theories The subject of “service quality” has been a top of the line topic in the practice and academic studies of business management, particularly for the service sectors. The main reason for the subjects’ prominence is intuitive: good service quality contributes to customer satisfaction, leading to positive business outcome for service providers. Such conventional believe, though still receive challenges now and then, has been proved in various empirical studies.. In the past few decades, tens of service quality models were reported. In a paper (Seth, Deshmukh, & Vrat, 2004) that reviews 20 service quality models during 1984-2003, one can see attempts from different perspectives on exploring attributes of service quality that really matter to different business sectors and the impact of service quality on costs reduction, customer satisfaction, loyalty and profitability. As this study aims at developing a service quality model of conference interpreting, the 20 models were reviewed to identify the most sufficient and adaptable ones for that purpose.. GAP model and SERVQUAL (Parasuraman et al., 1985, 1988) is obviously the mainstream supported by many researchers (Akan, 1995; Bojanic, 1991; Carman, 1990; Finn & Lamb, 1991; Johnson & Sirikit, 2002). In fact, many other service quality models have derived from it (Cronin & Taylor, 1992; Teas, 1993; Sweeney et al., 1997; Dabholkar et al., 2000), based on their agreement with or arguments against it. Among those derived models, 9.

(20) one major rival to the GAP model and SERVQUAL is SERPERF and its perception-only model (Cronin & Taylor, 1992).. As for those other models (non GAP model related), some are mainly conceptual models that have not been tested (Haywood-Farmer, 1988; Philip & Hazlett, 1997), others focus on certain specific services, such as internet banking, E-service, etc. (Berkley & Gupta, 1994; Broderick & Vachirapornpuk, 2002; Santos, 2003). The only one that is tested and general enough to be put into the context of this study is the technical and functional quality model of Grönroos (1984). Grönroos’ conceptual model and theory is commonly quoted by researchers (Woodside, Frey, & Daly, 1989; Bitner, 1990; Babakus & Boller, 1992). However, the model does not offer an instrument or method to measure the service quality as does SERVQUAL and SERPERF.. The GAP model and SERVQUAL has been supported for its sufficient or better-than-others validity, generality, and applicability. It has also been the most quoted/applied in the quality studies of different service businesses, including professional services. Therefore, the GAP model and SERVQUAL is chosen to serve as the fundament of the model and instrument development of this study. However, considering its limits, concepts of Grönroos’ and Cronin and Taylor’s are also drawn into this study to develop a model and instrument that makes a better sense in the context of conference interpreting. These three models are thus discussed in the following sections.. A.. Gap Model and SERVQUAL (Parasuraman et al., 1985, 1988) Founded on studies of service and product quality and insights from an exploratory. investigation (in-depth interviews with executives and focus group interview of customers) on 4 service categories (retail banking, credit card, securities brokerage, and product repair 10.

(21) and maintenance), Parasuraman et al. (1985) proposed a conceptual model of service quality, later known as the GAP Model (see Figure. 2.1), identifying five gaps in the process of. service delivery that “can be major hurdles in attempting to deliver a service which consumers would perceive as being of high quality”. The five gaps are: Gap 1: Consumer expectation—management perception gap: This is the gap between consumers’ expectations and management’s perceptions of those expectations, suggesting that “service providers may not always understand what customers expect in the service.” Gap 2: Management perception—service quality specification gap: This is the gap between management’s perceptions of. consumers’. expectations and service quality specifications, suggesting that even though the service firm’s management has the knowledge of consumers’ expectations, means to deliver service meeting such expectations may not be in place. Gap 3: Service quality specification—service delivery gap: This is the gap between service quality specifications and the service actually delivered, suggesting variability in personnel performance makes adhering specified quality standards difficult. Gap 4: Service delivery—external communication gap: This is the gap between service delivery and the communications to consumers about service delivery, suggesting insufficient or exaggerated communication might lead to customers’ false expectations/perceptions of the service and therefore affect the service quality in views of customers. Gap 5: Expected service—perceived service gap: This refers to the difference between consumers’ expectations and the perceived service, suggesting that “judgments of service quality depend on how consumers perceive the actual service performance in the context of 11.

(22) what they expected” (1985, p. 46). This gap depends on the scale and direction of the mentioned four gaps associated with the delivery of service:. Gap 5 =. f(Gap1, Gap2, Gap3, Gap4). Figure 2.1. Service Quality Model (Parasuraman et al., 1985). Parasuraman et al. (1985) also proposed in the paper that “the position of a consumer’s perception of service quality on the continuum depends on the nature of the discrepancy between the expected service (ES) and perceived service (PS)” (p.48): . When ES > PS, perceived quality is less than satisfactory;. . When ES = PS, perceived quality is satisfactory; 12.

(23) . When ES < PS, perceived quality is more than satisfactory and will tend toward ideal quality. Besides the model, findings of the focus groups in this research suggested similar criteria consumers (across different services) used in evaluating service quality. These criteria were then summarized and described as 10 “service quality determinants” (see Figure 2.2).. Figure 2.2. 10 Determinants of Service Quality (Parasuraman et al., 1985). Following up their research in 1985, Parasuraman et al. (1988) published a subsequent scale named SERVQUAL (see Table 2.1) to serve as an instrument in measuring “GAP 5”—customers’ expectations and perceptions of service quality. SERVQUAL features 5 dimensions (refined from the previous 10 determinants of service quality), represented and assessed by a 22-item scale, where each item is measured based on consumers’ responses to two statements of the item: 13.

(24) . One suggests the quality expectations of customers concerning a service;. . The other suggests the quality perceptions of customers regarding the service actually experienced.. The responses to the statements are expressed by selection on a seven-point Likert-type scale. The collected data of responses will then be converted into “perception-minus-expectation” scores for each statement; that is: G (gap score) = P (perception-of-performance score) – E (expectation score) The greater “G” is, the better is the perceived service quality.. Table 2.1 Dimensions. SERVQUAL 5 dimensions and the description (Zeithaml et al., 1990). Number of. Description. items Tangibles. 4. The appearance of physical facilities, equipment, and personnel.. Reliability. 5. The ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.. Responsiveness. 4. The willingness to help customers and provide prompt service.. Assurance. 4. The knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire thrust and confidence.. Empathy. 5. The level of caring and individualized attention the firm provides to its customers.. Although the GAP model and SERVQUAL have been applied and valued by researchers and managers in the service sectors, some researchers have identified limitations or flaws on its conceptual foundation and operationalization. Based on a paper reviewing researches on SERVQUAL during 1988-2008 (Ladhari, 2009), major criticisms against it include, to name just a few, the following: 14.

(25) . Use of scores The major criticism center on using gap scores to represent service quality. (see also. 2.4.1) Brown, Churchill, and Peter (1993) and Peter, Churchill, and Brown (1993) identified poor reliability of the gap scores. Cronin and Taylor (1992) claimed and confirmed with empirical results that perception-only scores (as in SERPERF) outperform SERVQUAL in measuring service quality.. Responding to such criticisms, Parasuraman et al. (1994) argued that gap methodology helps to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a business on different service quality attributes, suggesting the directions for the business to work on for improvement. For that purpose, the difference between expectation and perception, instead of perception alone, provides more insights. Such statement is supported by some researchers: Curry and Sinclair (2002) reported that SERVQUAL is useful and relevant for identifying consumer priories in the context of public-sector physiotherapy services. Jain and Gupta (2004), based on their empirical results, reported that “when the research objective is to identify areas relating to service quality shortfalls for possible intervention.., the SERVQUAL scale needs to be preferred because of its superior diagnostic power” (P. 34).. . Emphasis on functional quality The construct of service quality has been believed as having different dimensions:. Grönroos (1982, 1984) suggested that service quality consists of functional quality and technical quality. Swartz and Brown (1989) categorized service quality into “how” and “what” dimensions. Supporting these views, Rust and Oliver (1994) claimed that service quality is based on perceptions of (i). The consumer-employee interaction during the service (functional quality),. (ii) The outcome of the service (technical quality), and 15.

(26) (iii) The service environment. Obviously, SERVQUAL focuses solely on the functional quality. Richard and Allaway (1993) argued that relying on functional quality alone in explaining or predicting consumer behavior can be a misinterpretation of service quality.. . Applicability of measuring service quality in different settings Several studies questioned the applicability of SERVQUAL for measuring service. quality in different settings (Babakus & Boller, 1992; van Dyke, Kappelman, & Prybutok, 1997; Akbaba, 2006), and some argued that industry-specific instruments are more sufficient in measuring specific industries than is the generic scale of SERVQUAL (Carman, 1990; Babakus & Boller; Brown et al., 1993; van Dyke et al., 1997; Caro & Garcia, 2007).. In conclusion, though not perfect, SERVQUAL is still considered a useful instrument for researches on service quality. However, it is recommended not to use it as it is in all cases. When applying SERVQUAL, one should (Ladhari, 2009): . Adapt it to develop the very instrument for the specific industry. . Validate the instrument after data collection on reliability and validity.. Agreeing with the views of the above mentioned literature, this study takes the approach of applying SERVQUAL partially and with other methods to develop a tailored model and instrument for conference interpreting to achieve the objectives set forth for this study. The details are explained in Chapter 3, Methodology.. 16.

(27) B.. Perception-only model and SERPERF (Cronin & Taylor, 1992) Based on their argument against the framework of Parasuraman et al. (1985) on its. conceptualization and measurement of service quality, Cronin and Taylor proposed a theoretical justification on SERVQUAL in 1992 and introduced SERPERF, a service quality measurement instrument which discards the expectation portion of SERVQUAL and keeps just the measures of service perception in the scale, reducing the number of measuring statements by 50%. The concept of SERPERF on service quality can be expressed in the following equation:. Source: Jain and Gupta, 2004: p. 28. Cronin and Taylor reported empirical evidence proving SERPERF outperformed SERVQUAL across four industries (banks, pest control, dry cleaning, and fast food) in terms of measuring service quality. Several later empirical studies have also found SERPERF superior to SERVQUAL as it explains greater variance in the overall service quality (Angur, Nsataraajan, & Jaheera, 1999; Jain & Gupta, 2004). Over time, SERPERF has received considerable supports from researchers (Churchill & Surprenant, 1982; Babakus & Boller, 1992; Bolton & Drew, 1991; Boulding, Kalra, Staelin, & Zeithaml, 1993; Woodruff, 1997). Even Zeithaml (one of the authors of SERVQUAL) observed in a study that, “perceived quality is directly influenced only by perceptions (of service performance)” (Boulding et al., 1993).. 17.

(28) Though SERPERF is not directly applied in this study, as the objective of this study is not to measure the perceived service quality, but the expected, its measuring method on service quality perception and satisfaction is applied in testing the hypotheses developed by this study (see 2.4.2).. C.. Technical and functional quality model (Grönroos, 1984) A decade before the GAP model and SERVQUAL, Grönroos proposed his service. quality model that incorporates three quality components: technical quality, functional quality, and image, to further define the term “service quality” for it to be a sufficient guidance for management (see Figure 2.3).. Grönroos (1984) believes that “perceived quality of a given service will be the outcome of an evaluation process, where the consumer compares his expectations with the service he perceives he has received” (p. 37). Therefore, for a firm to better manage perceived quality for better customer satisfaction, one has to match the customers’ expected service with their perceived service, or vice versa.. Two dimensions of quality were proposed in this model: technical quality and functional quality. Technical quality refers to the result of a service production process, for example, “a passenger has been transported from one place to another, a medical problem has been attended to in a hospital”.. However, since the service is considered an activity where buyer-seller interactions are involved, the technical quality dimension alone cannot be considered as the totality of customers’ perceived quality, because the interactions will also have an impact on the customers’ perceived service. Therefore, functional quality must be put into place, answering 18.

(29) the question of “how customers gets the service”, when technical quality answers the question of “what customers get”.. Figure 2.3. Service quality model (Grönroos, 1984). Grönroos also argue that “functional quality is more important to the perceived service than the technical quality, at least as long as the latter quality dimension is on a satisfactory level” (p. 41). This hypothesis was tested and proved by a survey on 219 respondents of Swedish service firm executives. The result also shows that high level of functional quality may compensate for temporary problems with the technical quality, which supports Grönroos’ appeal for business sectors’ efforts in improving functional quality of service.. Agreeing with Grönroos on his conceptual model of service quality, this study incorporates. a. dimension. of. technical. 19. quality,. to. complement. the.

(30) functional-quality-centered GAP model, in the development of the service quality model of conference interpreting. The details are explained in Chapter 3 Methodology.. 2.1.2 Professional Service and Why Quality Matters When addressing quality management of professional service, the definition and characteristics of professional service should be first addressed. Though there has not yet been a universally agreed definition of the term, numerous literatures have attempted to depict the attributes of professional services:. . They are services provided by qualified people who possess competent knowledge and skills in certain specific fields (Gummesson, 1978; Sarkar & Saleh, 1974). The intellectual sophistication is often stressed, for example, by Wilson (1972, p. 4), “…an intellectual discipline capable of formulation on theoretical, if not academic, lines, requiring a good educational background and tested by examination”.. . There are traditional practices or a code of ethics that regulate the practitioners’ behavior (Greenwood, 1957; Wilson, 1972; Bloom, 1984). Professional associations are formed to safeguard such code of ethics and continue the development of the professions’ expertise and standards (Wilson, 1972).. . A professional service is a credence good.1 High level of uncertainty is experienced by buyers of the service in purchasing and evaluating professional services (Swartz & Brown, 1991).. . The professions offer services that are highly complex, intangible, highly customized, and are created and delivered by highly qualified personnel, over a continuous stream. 1. A credence good is a good whose utility impact is difficult or impossible for the consumer to ascertain. In contrast to experience goods, the utility gain or loss of credence goods is difficult to measure after consumption as well. The seller of the good knows the utility impact of the good, creating a situation of asymmetric information. (Wikipedia) 20.

(31) of transactions or service encounters (Thakor & Kumar, 2000).. In views of these definitions, service quality management of professional services is very different from consumer services. Since it is credence good, evaluation on the service quality of the customers would be far from the same as it is of the service practitioners themselves. Therefore, understanding how service purchasers evaluate the service performance to avoid possible misunderstandings, or even conflicts, can be an even more critical task for the management of professional services.. Furthermore, as Gummesson (1981) had put it, “It is necessary to actively market professional services. It is dangerous to believe that a good service will sell itself ” (p. 108). For marketing purpose, professional service providers need to know what matters to their target customers and how much customers know about the services, so that the right marketing strategy and messages can be put into place to address to the target market.. After all, professional services are mostly costly owing to their complexity, their values need to be proofed with quality service in the definition of customers or the business would not grow. To achieve that objective, it “...requires familiarity with and deep understanding of the customer and the problematic situation on hand” (Eveardsson, 1988, p. 430). That explains why this study consider understanding what clients expect from conference interpreting service is a critical task in developing the market for the service.. 2.1.3 Application of Service Quality Theories in Professional Service Sector If quality management of consumer services is hard, it is even harder for professional or business-to-business services. Professional services providers have found assessing quality a tough task. The reasons can be as what Hite and Fraser (1988) observed: professional 21.

(32) services are complex, therefore their performance is difficult to judge; the effects of service are often delayed, making post-purchase judgment difficult; frequency of quality assessment is intentionally reduced to the minimal level so as to prevent clients from collecting information to develop informed expectations of quality. Another hindrance of quality assessment on professional service can be that the professionals, as observed by Brown and Swatz (1989), “…appear to be more task and self-oriented than client oriented.” Therefore, professional service practitioners might be more concerned with the standards perceived within the professional community than what clients care.. Regardless of all the difficulties mentioned, professional service sector too are concerned with the necessity of quality management. When they do wish to address the quality issue, they tend to apply the mainstream quality models in place, and SERVQUAL appears to be of the most favored model adopted by the sector. Studies applying SERVQUAL can be found in the following professional services and more: . Medical and Healthcare: Carman 1990; Headley & Miller 1993; Baldwin & Sohal 2003; Dagger et al., 2007.. . Accounting: Freeman & Dart 1993; Weekes, Scott, & Tidwell, 1996.. . Education: Kettinger & Lee 1994; Cook & Thompson 2000; Engelland, Workman, and Singh, 2000.. . B2B services: Gounaris 2005.. Among those attempts, some studies directly applied SERVQUAL in assessing professional service quality reported inadequacy of direct application of the instrument. Freeman and Dart (1993) concluded in their research, applying SERVQUAL to measure service quality of accounting firms, by saying that SERVQUAL was not an adequate instrument to assess the perceived quality of B2B services, as new dimensions (of quality) 22.

(33) emerged and appeared superior than those of SERVQUAL. However, they reckoned the value of SERVQUAL in serving “as a useful starting point for research” in service quality. A similar study done by Weekes et al. (1996) suggested similar conclusion, “SERVQUAL provides a generic base for the addition of industry specific case dimensions for the development of a useful instrument…” (p. 36) in assessing service quality and satisfaction.. The conclusions of these studies support the approach taken by this study in the forming of service quality model and instrument for conference interpreting.. 23.

(34) 2.2 Conference Interpreting is A Professional Service “Although interpreting is an ancient human practice, it appears that, through the ages, up to the twentieth century, it was usually considered too ‘common’ and unspectacular to deserve special mention” (Pöchhacker, 2004, p. 27).. Different from other professional services, such as medical, legal, banking, and consulting services that are commonly perceived as professional services, the professional status of conference interpreting varies from country to country.. The following section will discuss the definition and types of interpreting service, as well as the professional status of it.. 2.2.1 Definition of Interpretation As Pöchhacker (2004) suggested, defining translation is a prerequisite to producing a well-rounded definition for interpretation, so he identifies definitions of translation applicable to form the basic conceptual elements for interpretation: Interpretation is an activity consisting in the production of utterances which are presumed to have a similar meaning and/or effect as previously existing utterances in another language and culture.. As much as translation and interpretation share common elements, they are distinct from one the other in other ways. Kade (1967) identified that one of the major distinctions between Translation and Interpretation is the immediacy of time. He suggested that interpreting is a form of Translation in which the source language text is presented only once and thus cannot be reviewed or replayed, and the target-language text is produced under time pressure, with little chance for correction and revision. Taking Kade’s criteria 24.

(35) into consideration, Pöchhacker (2004) formulated a definition of interpretation as “a form of translation in which a first and final rendition in another language is produced on the basis of a one-time presentation of an utterance in a source language” (p. 11).. 2.2.2 Types of interpreting service Interpreting service nowadays can be categorized based on 1) the social context of interaction/setting, in which the service is performed, and 2) the working mode. Table 2.2 illustrates interpreting services of different categories.. The two modes of interpretation are “Consecutive interpreting” and “Simultaneous interpreting”. “Consecutive interpreting” refers to interpreting rendered after every few minutes of the speech. In this working mode, the interpreter would take notes (or not if it is short consecutive) while the speaker talks for a few minutes, and deliver the interpretation while the speaker pause. “Simultaneous interpreting” refers to interpreting delivered almost at the same time when the speaker is speaking. Simultaneous interpreting delivered through transmission equipment is called “conference interpreting”, meaning “interpreting in multilateral communication, as in conferences attended by delegates and representatives of various nations and institutions” (Pöchhacker, 2004).. In the conference interpreting settings, two to three interpreters work together in the same language booth with transmission equipment. Both audiences and speakers of the conference have to wear headsets to receive the rendering of the speech. Most of the time, the booth would be located behind the seat of the audience, therefore, both speakers and audience would hardly see or interact with the interpreters during the interpretation.. 25.

(36) Table 2.2 Categorization of Interpreting Service Modes of Interpretation. Consecutive “Classic’ Interpreting Consecutive” (the speaker speaks for several minutes before the Short interpreter renders Consecutive the talk). Booth (Conference interpreting). Simultaneous Interpreting (Delivered to listeners a few seconds after the utterance in the source language). Whispering. Job Description. Settings. The interpreter works applying systematic note-taking.. The interpreter usually works without notes..  Spoken-language Business interpreting with the use of interpreting, transmission equipment in Diplomatic a sound-proof booth  Two to three interpreters interpreting, work together at the same Military in the same language booth interpreting, Court interpreting, Educational The interpreter works right next interpreting, to less than two listeners, Community providing a rendition by interpreting, Media speaking in a low voice. interpreting, etc. The rendition of a written text. Sight. “at sight”. The interpreter’s target-text production is simultaneous not with the delivery of the source text but with real-time visual reception of the written source text.. Source: Revised by this study based on Shih (2004); Pöchhacker (2004); Chen (2008). 26.

(37) This study focuses the research of service quality solely on conference interpreting settings for two main reasons. One is that the fee of conference interpreting is higher than any other forms of interpreting, making quality management of this service an even more crucial task than others. The other is that factors of interference on the service quality of conference interpreting are the minimum when compared with other settings, so the result of this study can be easily adapted or expanded to other forms of interpreting services.. 2.2.3 Interpreting as a Profession Though interpreting has been a long-standing practice in the human history, it is a profession lately emerged in the global service industry (Zhou, 1997). Starting sixteenth century, interpreting has been practiced with some degree of remuneration, legal standards or special know how. However, it had not been associated with a definite professional status and job definition until 1919. “The brilliant example of Paul Mantoux interpreting for the Allied leaders at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 marks a fundamental turning point of international interpreting: the transition from ‘chance interpreters’ (i.e. more or less bilingual individuals who happen to be on hand) to the corps of specially skilled professions working at the League of Nations” (Pöchhacker, 2004, p. 28 ). Since then, schools for training interpreters had been established across Europe to meet the demands for interpreting service emerging after the successful introduction in 1919. Subsequently, United Nations adopted the service.. The expanding market of professional interpreting service and growing number of graduates from the interpreting training institutions fostered the forming of professional organizations of interpreters in the early 1950, for example, AIIC (International Association of Conference Interpreters) was set up in 1953. “Based on code of ethics and professional standards adopted in 1957, AIIC proved highly successful in regulating interpreters’ working 27.

(38) conditions and establishing a high profile for the profession on an international scale” (Pöchhacker, 2004, p. 29).. However, AIIC’s influence on international professionalization of interpreting may be restricted or curtailed under different national jurisdiction. Therefore, “the struggle for professionalization has typically been set in a territorial context subject to national legislation and local institutional constraints” (Pöchhacker, 2004).. The professionalization process of interpreting was described by Tseng in 1992 in a structural model (See Figure 2.4). According to Tseng, there are four phases in the process: Phase 1: Market Disorder (fierce competition among practitioners of an occupation) Phase 2: Consolidation of the profession and development of a consensus about practitioner’s aspirations Phase 3:. Professional Association. Phase 4: Professional Autonomy (often realized through licensure). Tseng identified two main indicators of professionalization in interpreting service: professional association in Phase 3 and certification system in Phase 4. In case of the interpreting service in Taiwan, according to both Tseng (1992) and Ju (2009)—who proposed a justified model on Tseng’s to address to the updated status of interpreting market in Taiwan, though there are still rooms for improvements, the two professionalization indicators of interpreting service have been in place in the Taiwan market, confirming the professional status of interpreting service in Taiwan.. 28.

(39) Figure 2.4. Model of Professionalization Process of Interpreting (Tseng, 1992). Though the practice of conference interpreting in different countries may be at different phases of the professionalization process due to national legislation or institutional constraints, when applying management concepts, conference interpreting should be viewed as a professional service, taking into accounts its characteristics similar to other professional services as depicted in 2.1.2: . It's a service provided by qualified people who possess competent knowledge and skills in certain specific fields.. . There are traditional practices or a code of ethics that regulate the practitioners’ behavior.. . It is credence good.. . It is highly complex, intangible, highly customized, and is created and delivered by highly qualified personnel.. 29.

(40) 2.3 Service Quality of Conference Interpreting A notion made by Karla Dejean at an international conference on interpreting in 1994 depicts vividly the urgency and necessity of high quality interpreting service, “..at a time when English is steadily gaining ground as the lingua franca2 – making interpreting more and more of a luxury item – high quality standards have become a sine qua non3” (Schlesinger, 1997, p. 131).. Impressed with the mainstream trend of quality assurance across various industries in the 20th century, the conference interpreting community has started its endeavors in the search of “what it takes for excellence” in the profession (Schlesinger, 1997; Kurz, 2001). However, it is no easy task as the issue is for other professional services.. The following sections reviews the endeavors of the conference interpreting community in addressing quality assurance: theories and surveys on quality in different perspectives of interpreters, users, and clients, as well as the missing links and challenges faced.. 2.3.1 Quality in Whose Perspective? In his elaboration on “communication-oriented” quality assessment, Gile (1991) stated that quality of interpreting service “depends on each communication actor’s viewpoint: a passionate speech interpreted very convincingly may be highly appreciated by the Sender (speaker) but resented by the Receiver (listener)” (p. 189). Gile also stressed the importance of taking Clients’ perspective on quality into consideration, as they are those who pay for the professional interpreting service.. 2 3. a language that is used among people who speak various different languages (Merriam-Webster) something absolutely indispensable or essential (Merriam-Webster) 30.

(41) Combining Gile and other scholar’s comments on potential assessors of interpreting quality, Pöchhacker (2001) modeled the relationships between the various positions and perspectives of the assessors (See Figure 2.5). In this model, the key actors directly involved in an event of interpreting serviced conference is depicted (within the rectangle) as a triad made up of Interpreter (INT.), Speaker (ST-P) and Listener (TT-R). Client (conference organizer) and Colleague (fellow interpreter) are additional assessors of interpreting quality.. Figure 2.5. Perspectives on quality in interpreting (Pöchhacker, 2001). 2.3.2 The Norms~ Interpreters’ Perspective “..it is unclear to what extent one can speak of norms which most interpreters – or even most interpreters for a given language combination – would agree upon, even if only intuitively” (Schlesinger, 1997, p. 124).. Apparently, a common standard of quality in conference interpreting is difficult to attain even within the interpreting community itself. In a 1994 conference on interpreting, it was found that perception of quality criteria and norms varied among interpreting practitioners themselves. For example, one conference participant believed that a. 31.

(42) quality-conscious interpreter would always finish a sentence and never repeat a speaker’s mistake, while others noted that there may be situations where the users would prefer an almost exact duplication of the original style, warts, and others (Schlesinger, 1997).. Difficult or even impossible as the task may be, the interpreting community reckons the necessity of continuous efforts on building consensus on quality standards within the community.. In a pilot study on conference interpreters, which was perhaps the first empirical study on interpreting quality, Bühler (1986) surveyed 47 conference interpreters and asked them to rate the relative importance of both “pertinent linguistic” criteria (9 items, including fluency of delivery, logical cohesion, sense consistency with the original messages, etc.) and “extra-linguistic” criteria (7items, including endurance, poise, pleasant appearance, etc.) in the evaluation of an interpreter’s performance.. In the conclusion of her study in 1986, Bühler quoted the thought of Reiss (1983), “interpretation… is good if it serves its purpose, if it is adequate.” She further elaborated this conclusion, “..the ‘ideal interpretation’ cannot be an absolute value.” and “..will be the one that makes the best of a given situation and the ‘ideal interpreter’ for colleagues may well be the one who performs adequately in a given conference for a given user group, and who does his/her best with a given original.”. In 1989, Kurz used 8 items of the linguistic criteria of Bühler’s to survey users expectations on interpreting quality, and found significant percentage differences between interpreters’ and users’ rating on various items, though the rankings of the items seemed similar (See Table 2.3 and Figure 2.6). 32.

(43) Table 2.3 Comparison of Bühler’s and Kurz’ Result (Kahane, 2000). Figure 2.6. Significance of quality criteria as seen by conference interpreters and delegates (Kurz, 2001). The discrepancy found between interpreters’ and users’ expectation of quality based on the two studies has not only inspired substantial efforts dedicated to understanding users’ expectation, but also struck the interpreting community in a way that it started to contemplate possible alternative approaches to address the complexity of quality measurement of interpreting service. For example, Kahane (2000) proposed to “broaden the field by moving from purely linguistic issues to pragmatic, communication issue.”. The most recent efforts on understanding interpreters’ perspective on quality and on. 33.

(44) exploring interpreter’s function/role were taken by Chiaro & Nocella (2004), Angelelli (2004), and AIIC (the project is still ongoing).. 2.3.3 Emerging Efforts in Understanding Users As discussed in the previous section, the observed discrepancy between interpreters’ and users’ (mainly refer to speakers and listeners) expectation on interpreting quality has sparked endeavors dedicated to understanding users. The interpreting community has since reckoned the importance of meeting the quality expectation of users, as Schlesinger (1997) had put it, “If quality is a function of the attainment of goals, and if the goal of interpreting is to satisfy the requirements of both speakers and listeners, the attainment of these goals amounts to quality.” (p. 127). As the pioneer in quality studies on the perspective of users, Kurz brought to the interpreting community a line of research on the subject. After her initial study of the kind in 1989 to test Bühler’s hypothesis that interpreters’ quality criteria also reflect users’ expectations (Kurz, 1993), Kurz subsequently hypothesized that the result might not apply to all users. Therefore, Kurz conducted comparative studies to survey participants in 3 different conference settings (an international conference on general medicine, an international conference on quality control, and a Council of Europe meeting on its equivalences in Europe) to learn their expectation on interpreting quality (Kurz, 1993, 1994, 1996).. Comparing the results gathered, Kurz found different user groups presented different evaluation profiles, even though there was high agreement among all user groups on certain criteria (sense consistency, logical cohesion, correct terminology)”. She then concluded, “The findings…clearly show that the target-language receiver or listener must be seen as an 34.

(45) essential element in the process” (Kurz, 2001).. After Kurz’ studies confirmed the importance of users’ perspective on quality, many studies on this subject emerged (Gile 1990; Marrone 1993; Vuorikoski 1993, 1998; Kopczynski 1994; Mack & Cattaruza 1995; Moser 1995, 1996; Collados Ais 1998; Andres 2000). After going through these studies (those were attainable from the author’s resource available), the author identified a shortlist of the most quoted empirical studies with comparative sufficient number of samples. Table 2.4 shows a summary of these empirical studies on interpreting quality in users’ perspective.. A summary of conference interpreting quality in users’ perspective may be described as what Schjoldager (1996) had put it when discussing quality in listener’s perspective: “there is a general agreement that an interpreting performance should be comprehensible, pleasant to listen to, linguistically and terminologically acceptable, as well as coherent and plausible.” (p. 190). Table 2.4 Papers. Empirical studies on interpreting quality – Users’ Perspective. Survey subjects. Sample size. Quality attributes tested and the result. Kurz. Users of 3 conferences. Participants of. Significance of different criteria:. (1993). (medical, quality. 3 conferences:. 1) Consistency > 2) Logical cohesion > 3). Language:. control, council of. 47+29+48=. Terminology > 4) Completeness > 5) Fluency. English/German. Europe). 124. > 6) Grammar = 7) Voice > 8)Accent. Vuorikoski. conference participants. Conference. Rankings of the quality attributes:. (1993, 1998). participants:. 1) informed, 2) coherent, easy to follow, 3). Language:. 173. fluent, 4) accurate, 5) correct terminology, 6) pleasant speech rhythm. English/Finnish. 35.

(46) Kopczynski. Previous users. 3 professional. (1994). (speakers and hosts) of. groups:. attributes:. Language:. 3 professional groups. 20+23+14=. 1. Detailed content (>70%),. English/Polish. (Humanities, Science &. 57. 2. Terminology (>65%),.  Top 3. Technology,. priorities of. different quality. 3. Fluency + Style. Diplomats).  Other attributes: General content, grammaticality, diction, voice. Moser. Conference participants. 201 interview. Most concerned quality attributes:. (1995). (1/2 audiences, 1/2. entries at 84. 1.. Content. Language:. speakers). conferences/. . Clarity > Completeness/ essentials >. English, French,. meetings in. Terminological accuracy > Faithfulness to. German, Italian,. different. meaning. Spanish. countries. 2.. Voice,. 3.. Synchronicity. 4.. Rhetorical skills. Source: Compiled by this study. 2.3.4 Little Attention Paid to the Clients Initiatives on understanding clients of interpreting service was discussed in a workshop during a 1994 conference (Schlesinger, 1997), where the participants decided to rise beyond the practitioner’s own perspective to discuss quality in market and other perspectives. They asked and discussed questions like “Do our clients know what’s good for them? What do they expect, and what will make them happy with the service and product we provide?” (p. 126). Yet, few studies have been dedicated to client’s perspective on interpreting quality by far.. Studies on client’s perspectives of interpreting quality were mainly done in the field of community interpreting (Kadric 2000). In the area of conference interpreting, major surveys on clients’ perspective have been carried out by the world’s largest client of interpreting service, the Joint Interpreting and Conference Service of the European Commission. 36.

(47) DG Interpretation of European Commission holds customer satisfaction survey every 3 years to understand the delegates’ perceived service quality of interpreting. In a personal discussion in a 2012 conference, Mr. Brian Fox, Director of Interpreters/European Commission, mentioned to the author of this paper that the quality attributes most constantly referred to in their clients’ complaints on interpreting quality was “terminology” (Brian Fox, personal communication, Nov. 23, 2012). Considering the wide coverage of languages and professional subjects involved, getting all the terminology correctly and adequately used in the interpreting service provided by European Commission seems to be a mission almost impossible. This finding suggests a high relevancy of “terminology” as a quality attributes in clients’ perspective.. However, the nature of DG Interpretation’s service in European Commission and its relationship with the delegates is very different from the common business environment that this study is addressing, therefore its quality management method, though is relevant, is not applicable to conference interpreting service in the business environment that this study discusses.. 2.3.5 The Missing Links and Challenges Faced After all these efforts in the study of interpreting quality, some problems remain unsolved, including but not limited to the following:.  Lack of comparability: Kurz (2001) has observed, “..though fairly extensive observational data have been amassed, there is little comparability among the individual surveys.” Several scholars have called for actions to address this problem. For example, Mack and Cattaruzza (1995) called for better coordination in survey methods so as to acquire more reliable and valuable 37.

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