Shift In Oralit Y – Shaping The Interpreters Of The Future And Of Today

Scientific manager: Prof. Félix San Vicente Santiago

Shift In Oralit Y






Sector: Higher Education

Unibo structure involved: Dipartimento di Interpretazione e Traduzione, Campus di Forlì (DIT)
Unibo Team: Team: Prof.ssa Mariachiara Russo, Prof.ssa María Pilar Capanaga Caballero, Prof.ssa Gloria Bazzocchi, Prof.ssa María Enriqueta Pérez Vázquez, Dott.ssa María Jesús González Rodríguez, Dott.ssa Amalia Amato, Dott.ssa Raffaella Tonin, Dott.ssa Nicoletta Spinolo, Dott.ssa Michela Bertozzi.


Project Duration in months: 35
Start Date: 1/10/2015
End Date: 31/08/2018

Budget: 368.206 euro   
Unibo Budget: 116.445 euro


  • Coordinator: Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna (Italia)
  • Università del Surrey (Regno Unito)
  • Università di Granada (Spagna)
  • Università Pablo de Olavide – Siviglia (Spagna)
  • Dualia SL (Spagna)
  • VEASYT Srl (Italia)

As a result of globalization and of the continuous development and improvement of ICT, spoken language travels through new devices and media. Similar trends can be observed in the field of spoken-language interpreting where, alongside traditional onsite interpreting (i.e. where the interpreter and the speakers share the same space), remote interpreting is spreading through the use of telephone and videoconferencing. There is therefore a strong need for updating existing theoretical models of oral discourse and interpreter-mediated communication, and existing approaches to interpreter education.

This need becomes even more evident when considering the main pillars of the European Digital Agenda, which include enhancing digital literacy, digital skills and digital inclusion as well as generating benefits for society by drawing on ICTs to reduce energy consumption, support ageing citizens' lives, revolutionise health services and deliver better public services. Remote communication and remote interpreting respond to these pillars directly by reducing travel and fuel consumption; contributing to the inclusion of older people e.g. through remote healthcare; and making public services more efficient, e.g. through the use of remote interpreting services. The use of remote interpreting is also encouraged by Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings, which refers to the use of “communication technology such as videoconferencing, telephone or the Internet” (Art. 2) to optimise access to qualified interpreters. Remote communication and interpreting open up novel opportunities for gaining access to interpreters and for cross-border communication (including with interpreters). However, in order to develop a consistent approach across all stakeholders involved, the questions arising around remote communication and interpreting need to be addressed at transnational level. 

Against this backdrop, the SHIFT project will create a European network - consisting of universities offering interpreting programmes and of interpreting service providers - whose goal is to develop a comprehensive pedagogical solution for training in remote interpreting at HE level and in Lifelong Learning.  This will be based on a) an in-depth study of orality in remote monolingual communication (English, Spanish, Italian) and remote, interpreter-mediated communication (for Italian<->Spanish, English<->Spanish, Italian<->English), and b) a market analysis to gain an in-depth understanding of the current and future demand for remote interpreting and the educational implications. Given that the demand for remote interpreting is growing especially in public service and business interpreting, where the main mode of interpreting is dialogue interpreting, the project will focus on the teaching of remote interpreting in dialogue situations .

The specific objectives of the project are as follows:

  1. Develop a theoretical framework for the analysis of orality that focuses on discourse features which are especially relevant in remote communication and for language mediation and interpreting. Building on insights from linguistics and multimodality, a novel approach will be developed to investigate situated orality and describe how monolingual remote discourse unfolds. Particular emphasis will be placed on less studied but highly relevant oral phenomena such as register, speech markers, reported speech, pauses, interactional paralinguistic features (pausing and turn-taking patterns, backchannelling, hesitations, pitch and tone, changes in intonation, speed, pace, prosody, etc.), and related discoursive strategies typical of dialogic interactions;
  2. Apply this framework to the description and analysis of remote interpreter-mediated interactions;
  3. Carry out a needs/market analysis to elicit the most pressing knowledge gaps and educational needs in relation to remote interpreting;
  4. Develop a comprehensive pedagogical solution including a methodology and relevant pedagogical resources for remote interpreting, based on the specific features and challenges of remote discourse and remote interpreting and other outcomes of the market analysis;
  5. Evaluate the pedagogical concept and resources with interpreter trainees and interpreting service provides in different fields of interpreting.

The SHIFT project will prove beneficial for trainee interpreters; academic and professional institutions involved in interpreter training; interpreting service providers and users in the public and private sectors. Interpreting students and practising interpreters will be enabled to increase their employability and digital literacy. Interpreting service providers will benefit by having access to a workforce of trained interpreters. Users of interpreting services will benefit from a better quality of service. Academic and professional institutions will benefit from bringing their curricula in line with market needs.

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union