Educational interpreters and the Tomatis method : a mixed methods study at the North–West University
On the Potchefstroom Campus of the North–West University, where the predominant language of instruction is Afrikaans, non–Afrikaans speaking students are accommodated due to the use of interpreting services. Educational interpreting implies in–class simultaneous interpreting of Afrikaans lectures into English by trained under– and postgraduate students. The aim of this research was to determine the impact of the Tomatis Method, a method of sound stimulation, on educational interpreters and explore their experience of the Tomatis programme. The research set out to answer the following questions: (i) Will attendance of a Tomatis programme impact educational interpreters by: improving interpreting performance; enhancing attention, concentration and personality functioning; reducing negative mood states; and enhancing the positive mood state vigour? (ii) What will participants report about their experience during and after the Tomatis programme? To study the TM’s effects on participants, quantitative and qualitative data were combined using a mixed methods triangulation design. After obtaining informed consent, participants were randomly assigned to an experimental (n = 9) and control group (n = 9). Participants comprised of nine male and nine female, under– and postgraduate students between the ages of 19 and 36. The experimental group attended 60 half–hour sessions, during which they listened to gradually filtered music, followed by a two–month break for integration of the sound stimuli and, finally, another 60 half–hour sessions of audio–vocal training. A panel of interpreting experts and a speech therapist evaluated both groups’ interpreting performance (IPE) pre– and post–program. Both groups also completed assessments on personality (NEO PI–R) and concentration and memory (WAIS III) pre– and post programme, while the experimental participants additionally completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS) pre–, in– and postprogramme. Three focus group discussions during the course of the Tomatis programme enabled participants to verbalize their experiences of the programme and how it impacted their interpreting process. Despite a bias in favour of the control group during the interpreting performance postassessment, findings suggested that interpreters benefited from the Tomatis programme in several areas of interpreting and in regards to personal experiences. Regarding interpreting performance, a significant improvement concerning Interpreting Technique occurred in favour of the experimental group. This advance can be explained by participants’ qualitative responses regarding improved interpreting efficiency, speech production and listening skills. Experimental participants’ decreased Fatigue–Inertia; increased Extraversion, Activity and Vigour; and experiences of enhanced relaxation possibly contributed to improved interpreting performance. Moreover, the experimental group’s positive feedback about the enriching effect of the Tomatis programme on their personal lives strengthened the value of the TM for individual growth and psychological well–being. The control group showed some enhancement in aspects of interpreting and sub–domains of personality, but only managed to outperform the experimental group on one subscale, namely Feelings, a facet of the domain Openness of the NEO–PI(R). Thus, it appears that the Tomatis programme had a significantly positive impact on interpreters’ performance and that their experience of the interpreting process was enhanced during and after the programme.
- Humanities