AIIC Statistics: Draft questionnaire submitted by the PriMS SC

The PriMS SC has embarked on a review of the AIIC statistical questionnaire. The objective is to take a transversal view at all data sources and requirements in AIIC, and to define a long-term data collection strategy on that basis.

Introduction

The following questionnaire is an attempt to build on the experience accumulated in AIIC with statistics. I have reviewed a number of questionnaires issued by AIIC or AIIC committees in the past 30 years or so (Ruth Hall's successive versions, and a number of attempts by the Private Market Sector, under Marguerite Alviset and Agnes Perrot especially) and picked up some interesting ideas there.

I personally feel that a major limitation of our AIIC questionnaires is that they have mainly been descriptive in their analysis of the results. As a consequence, we may have missed the bigger picture – giving undue importance to the dwindling average number of days per interpreter whilst AIIC membership was growing dramatically, for instance – and have not been able to answer multi-dimensional questions, such as “how much work can a seasoned interpreter and AIIC member expect with this or that language combination on this particular market? ” This is partly because answering such questions requires a careful multivariate analysis by a statistician – using a professional statistical package – and also because the type of questions put in previous questionnaires was very much constrained by our ability to collect the information in the first place. So if we want to make a quantum leap in AIIC statistics, I believe that calling on professionals to 1) validate the questions and 2) crunch the numbers is essential .

For some of the most interesting issues, such as the current language trends, it is difficult to formulate questions meaningfully if the questionnaires remain generic. If however AIIC makes a policy decision that all questionnaires are to be distributed electronically (published on the Extranet and/or send by email in PDF format for instance), it would be technically very easy to customise some of the questions (cf. Chapter 4 – Language Trends). Another significant advantage of electronic questionnaires is that data can be typed and validated on the fly and data entry would be done by the respondents themselves.

Now, how statistics are collected depends essentially on what big issues/questions we would like to address. There are probably very many of them, including some that have never been properly examined, like emerging language trends on the various geographical and employer markets. All stakeholders in AIIC - including the Training Cttee, Research Cttee, Staff Interpreters Cttee, AS Delegations, PriMS, Council, some big AIIC regions possibly - should be invited to submit their list of issues . That's also a nice way to build ownership across the board and hopefully increase the response rate. On that basis, the final questions could then be formulated, preferably with the assistance of professional statisticians.

As a matter of fact, the draft questionnaire below should only be seen as a mere illustration at this stage. I think it more or less fulfils the requirements of the Private Market Sector but – as every interpreter knows – the profession is not as neatly compartmentalised as AIIC sometimes tends to be, so the contribution of other AIIC groups and committees is required if we want to make this a truly worthwhile exercise.

Target audiences/objectives

  • Individual interpreters : it should assist colleagues in assessing their personal situation and prospects on the market
  • Professional/Negotiating delegations in the Agreement Sector: Assess AIIC's representativeness in international organisations, assess the leverage AIIC has in so far as its members meet the existing/future language needs of institutional employers, either in broad terms or in niche markets.
  • AIIC Regions: Use a regional subset of the answers to conduct more focused surveys locally.
  • AIIC decision-making bodies : Make informed decisions on member recruitment (including CACL regulations), support PR and recruitment efforts, support strategic decisions in collective bargaining, monitor working conditions and take appropriate steps with stakeholders, etc.

Privacy Issues

Publishing a customised questionnaire online only will probably raise some privacy concerns, so the procedure should be spelled out very clearly to all:

  • Questionnaires are built on the fly for individual AIIC members
  • Members reply online from the Extranet (or alternatively from an interactive PDF document talking to our servers)
  • Responses are recorded in the AIIC survey database, WITHOUT any personal identification
  • Once the survey is closed, data is exported in a format to be agreed with the statisticians, who will then re-import it into their statistical package (SPSS or equivalent) for analysis
  • The raw data is kept in the AIIC survey database so that it may be easily reaggregated if required for follow-up studies
  • All data processors in the chain are under a non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement.

Other data sources

Additional data sources will also be required to address some of the big issues that AIIC faces as a professional body. The AIIC database of members is potentially very interesting in that regard, especially in terms of overall interpreter population and languages. Statistical reports published by international organisations recruiting interpreters would also be very useful.

Draft questionnaire

Chapter 1: Demographics

Availability of data in AIIC database

Question Text

Question Type

Mandatory?

Question/Comments

Partial

Your age on 1/1/ current year

Absolute (positive integer in SLE ), or a drop-down list with 10-year increments.

Y

I would prefer an absolute value.

Assuming that questionnaires are issued in January for the previous year, assume age of interpreter for the reporting period to be current year -1

Yes

Gender

F/M (radio buttons)

Y

Yes

What was/were your professional address(es) in reporting year

City/Cities of professional address

Y

country + AIIC region can be derived from there

TBD: How do we process multiple or recurrent professional addresses?

Notes :

Age is an essential variable. It is now collected routinely from applicants/candidates on admission. On the Extranet, members without age data in the AIIC database are prompted for a voluntary submission (about 20% decline, though).

Answers sought:

  • How long into their professional career do interpreters join AIIC?
  • At what age do they join?
  • Is AIIC an aging organisation across the board, or in some regions?

Chapter 2: AIIC Status

Availability of data in AIIC database

Question Text

Question Type

Mandatory?

Question/Comments

Yes

Your AIIC Membership status

Active/
Associate/
Candidate/
Pre-candidate
(drop-down list)

Y

Y

Partial

For Active and Associate AIIC Members only, when did you join AIIC ?

Year (drop-down list)

N

Data is available in AIIC database since late 1980's, in some cases from 1971.

Chapter 3: Professional Status

Availability of data in AIIC database

Question Text

Question Type

Mandatory

Question/Comments

No

Professional Conference Interpreter since

Year (drop-down list)

Yes

Date of entry in the profession

Yes (not totally reliable)

Employment status

Freelance/Staff (radio buttons)

Yes

A fair number of staff interpreters are still listed as freelancers in the AIIC database

No

For Freelance interpreters only, are you affiliated with

  • Any interpreter group that provides recruitment services to clients
  • Any secretariat or answering service that manages your availabilities

Y/N (radio buttons)

Yes

Cf . Bizorg initiative

Notes : Date of entry in the profession would be interesting to compare with date of entry in AIIC and correlate with interpreter's geographical market and language combination.

Chapter 4: Language trends

Availability of data in AIIC database

Question Text

Question Type

Mandatory

Question/Comments

YES (official combination)

In the booth on average, I work from/into the following language pairs

PASSIVE -> ACTIVE (for each of the pairs)

Drop-down list OR radio buttons

All the time
A lot
Regularly
Occasionally
Rarely
Never

Yes

Build pair list with all combination languages minus active language against each target active language (A/B). In the case of Bs, build pair list against all other languages, and not just As (retour)

For instance, A:FR, B:EN, C:DE would display as

EN -> FR
DE -> FR
FR -> EN
DE -> EN

This question is only possible if questionnaire is built dynamically online against a specific user profile.

I assume we would also include languages currently under a reclassification procedure (data is available in the AIIC database)?

No

Do you work with other languages than list of current respondent's languages ?

If yes, indicate which

Y/N (radio buttons)

Free text (SLE)

Yes

No

Are you currently ‘adding' or studying languages with a view to adding them to you language combination?

If yes, indicate which

Y/N (radio buttons)

Free text (SLE)

Yes

Notes :

  • Ties in with La Relève , and a research project under way at ETI on the development of interpreters' language combinations.
  • Lots of information can be inferred from the question, including conference language distribution on target markets, useful combinations (typologies and languages), etc.

Answers sought :

  • Is there a discernible trend towards global English?
  • Is there a discernible trend towards bilingual meetings (English/national language)?
  • What are the dominant language needs in any particular market (needs to be related precisely to the combination typology (bilingual/biactive, monolingual with multiple Cs)?
  • To what extent are Bs used?
  • Are Bs mostly retour languages from A, or active from all other combination languages?
  • Is there generally a serious discrepancy between AIIC-approved languages and AIIC interpreters' working language combinations?
  • Do AIIC interpreters ‘add' languages? If yes, is the trend correlated with a particular geographical market/main employer? At what age/seniority? What languages?
  • How well does AIIC cover emerging conference languages (EU enlargement languages, Chinese, Korean, etc)?

Chapter 5: Work Volume

Availability of data in AIIC database

Question Text

Question Type

Mandatory

Question/Comments

NA

Number of days worked in year for the agreement sector.

  • European Union
  • United Nations
  • Coordonnées
  • Global Union Federations
  • Government bodies applying special terms
  • Other international bodies applying special terms

For each of the sub-sectors, Absolute number of days (SLE with data integrity check (positive integer only)

Defaults to 0

Yes, 0 if not applicable

List organisations under categories C), D), E), F) as pop-up/footnote

NA

Freelance Interpreters only:

Number of days worked in year on the private market sector

Absolute number of days (SLE with data integrity check (positive integer only)

Defaults to 0

Yes. 0 if not applicable

Do not display/enable if respondent is staff interpreter

NA

Freelance Interpreters only:

Number of days refused :

  • because of overlapping assignments
  • because of illness/pregnancy
  • because of unacceptable monetary/working conditions

For each bullet point, absolute number of days (SLE with data integrity check (positive integer only)

Defaults to 0

N

Do not display/enable if respondent is staff interpreter

Notes :

  • It would be important to collect stats directly from the agreement sector for comparison purposes, at least the EU and the UN. The professional delegations should be of assistance here.

Answers sought :

  • How much of a market share does AIIC have in international organisations (relate total F/L work as reported by organisations to an extrapolation of total AIIC days for each organisation based on response rate???)
  • Ideally we should be trying to do the same for the private market sector. The big question here is how to assess the size of the non-AIIC market? Suggestions welcome.
  • How does individual workload correlate with age/languages in combination/combination typology/geographical market/main employers (multivariate analysis)

Chapter 6: Types of assignments

Availability of data in AIIC database

Question Text

Question Type

Mandatory

Question/Comments

NA

Number of days worked in year involving:

Mode:

  • Consecutive
  • Bidule
  • Chuchotage

Use of ‘new technologies' (except radio or television work)

  • Interpreters in another room/building/city than speakers)
  • Speakers in another room/building/city than audience
  • Audio and/or video feed transmitted to interpreters over
  • ISDN lines
  • Satellite
  • Internet connection

Special assignments)

  • Work for Radio/Television

Copyright issues

  • Webcasting of Interpreter output
  • Transcript of interpreter output published on the Internet
  • Other recording of interpreter output

Travel

  • Overnight stays

For each of the bullet points, absolute number of days (SLE with data integrity check (positive integer only)

N

Avoid use of jargon such as video-conferencing, teleconferencing, and remote interpreting. Use descriptive questions instead.

For instance, television assignments often imply working off a monitor in a remote interpreting situation. Respondents must be made to report all work for radio/television separately from other uses of new technologies.

Clearly separate out ‘new technologies' used to feed audio/video to interpreter from whatever system is used to broadcast the translation to the intended audience(s)

Italicised text in ‘Question Text' column is indicative

Notes:

  • Bidule and chuchotage may be indicative of poor working conditions, definitely so if they amount to a sizeable proportion of the interpreter's work ( cf. French bilingual market).
  • Consecutive is an interesting question in its own right. We assume the remainder to be Simultaneous.
  • Above and beyond quality of life, overnight stays may be an demand indicator on local markets ( cf. chapter 8 also)

Chapter 7: Quality assessment 

Availability of data in AIIC database

Question Text

Question Type

Mandatory

Question/Comments

NA

Technical conditions:

In the agreement sector

  • Sound
  • Vision
  • Air supply
  • Overall comfort (work area, ease of access, etc.)

On the private market

  • Sound
  • Vision
  • Air supply
  • Overall comfort (work area, ease of access, etc.)

Radio buttons or drop-down list, for each of the items, including NULL by default if respondents leaves question out

Excellent
Good
Fine
Poor
Unacceptable

N

Do not show to respondents who reported 0 days for agreement sector

NA

Technical conditions:

On the private market

  • Sound
  • Vision
  • Air supply
  • Overall comfort (work area, ease of access, etc.)

Radio buttons or drop-down list, for each of the items, including NULL by default if respondents leaves question out

Excellent
Good
Fine
Poor
Unacceptable

N

Do not show for staff interpreters / freelance interpreters who reported under x% work for the private market sector

Notes : We probably want to elicit as much information as possible on working conditions. There may be a number of different ways to do that, without asking a direct question as above. Suggestions welcome.

Chapter 8: Freelance Interpreters Only: Subjective Target

Availability of data in AIIC database

Question Text

Question Type

Mandatory

Question/Comments

NA

Ideally, how many days would you like to work each year?

Absolute number. SLE with data integrity check (positive integers only)

N

Do not display to staff interpreters.

In my view, this is more accurate than Ruth Hall's ‘were you offered enough work?'

NA

Ideally, how much would you like to work in your home base?

Percentage. From drop-down list in 10%-increments between 0 and 100.

N

Do not display to staff interpreters.

Notes: Interpreter may be voluntarily restricting their amount of work

Chapter 9: Trend on previous year

Availability of data in AIIC database

Question Text

Question Type

Mandatory

Question/Comments

NA

How has your workload in (year) evolved against the previous year?

Substantially more work/++
Slightly more work/+
Stable/=
Slightly less work/-
Substantially less work/--

Y

Question may be interesting to put to staff and freelance interpreters alike.  

Notes :

This question would be interesting to correlate with the interpreter's age/language combination and general language trends on the interpreter's particular market. Over time we should be able to use the answers to correlate workload perceptions with the actual market data reported in previous years.

Chapter 10: Freelance interpreters only: Monetary trends 

Availability of data in AIIC database

Question Text

Question Type

Mandatory

Question/Comments

NA

If a substantial part of your income comes from the private market sector, please indicate the levels of remuneration you commanded in year

Currency:

For simultaneous assignments

  • Lower range
  • Upper range

For consecutive assignments

  • Lower range
  • Upper range

SLEs with data integrity check (positive integers only)

Currency: drop-down list

N

Question would only be displayed/enabled if x% of workload comes from PriMS according to earlier answers.

Notes : This question would be a first. It is allowed under the FTC ruling and anti-trust legislation. We already have the daily rates negotiated under the agreement sector. It would then be interesting to relate the total turnover by region to the number of days worked, and national economic indicators (average income, etc.)

Chapter 11: Job Satisfaction

Availability of data in AIIC database

Question Text

Question Type

Mandatory

Question/Comments

NA

How much do you like your job as an interpreter

Y

TBD: Possible additional questions for F/L interpreters only:

Main types of conferences/meetings?

We could try and define a broad typology of meetings (by industry or type of clients) and ask respondents to indicate where they work more.

Job intermediation

We could ask respondents to indicate what proportion of their work comes from their own direct clients, colleagues, interpreter groups, industry intermediaries like hotels, conference centres, equipment suppliers, etc.

The idea of a mailing with custom-made PDF questionnaires looks interesting, now that over 2200 AIIC members have email. For colleagues not on email, the Secretariat could generate questionnaires on request and forward them separately.

Single Line Edit : A simple data entry field on a web form

If the data exists in the AIIC database and questionnaires are distributed electronically (ie. users are identified when the questionnaire is loaded and the questions are populated at run-time) we can collect the information in the background and dispense with the question.

We have the application dates in the AIIC database for all pre-candidates/candidates. An interesting question would be whether the precandidate/candidate stage is uniform throughout AIIC or whether it is more a function of the language combination and/or region.

For a discussion of passive/active vs ABC, see http://extranet.aiic.net/ViewPage.cfm/page902.htm and   http://extranet.aiic.net/community/comment/viewcomment.cfm?article_id=673

This question was systematically included in the early Ruth Hall questionnaires. Overlapping assignments will not have been recorded by many people, but would be interesting. However the total workload will be strongly affected by any illness/pregnancy period in the reporting year, so that needs to be included

The following stats are readily available for the EU (Commission mainly)


Revised:  29/11/2003
Created: 21/09/2003   17:01
Recommended citation format:
Vincent BUCK. "AIIC Statistics: Draft questionnaire submitted by the PriMS SC". aiic.net February 14, 2004. Accessed November 14, 2018. <http://aiic.net/p/1367>.

About the author(s)
Vincent BUCK

Vincent Buck is a Brussels-based freelance conference interpreter and IT systems analyst



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Vincent BUCK

   

Résumé d'une conversation téléphonique entre Jacky et Angela Keil, du comité permanent :

Zusammenfassung des Telefonats mit Jacquy Neff am 9.12.2003

Jacquy arbeitet zur Zeit an seiner Promotion zum Thema "Die Stellung der deutschen Sprache als internationale Konferenzsprache am Beispiel der Europäischen Union". Sie wird nächstes Jahr veröffentlicht.

Es ist eine ökoskopische Studie auf der Grundlage von 4 Untersuchungen.

Er hat 23.000 Kunden und ca. 4000 Dolmetscher befragt.

(Am Rande: Bei einer der Untersuchung wurden 2700 Dolmetscher befragt, von denen nur 2200 in Berufsverbänden organisiert waren)

Er begrüßt den neuen Ansatz für die Statistiken der aiic, dass ein Statistiker beteiligt ist und dass ein Statistik-Programm eingesetzt wird.

Seine Bemerkungen zu dem Fragebogen:

Wir sollten nicht nur auf Konferenzdolmetschen abstellen, sondern auch andere Dolmetscharten berücksichtigen, in die (laut seiner Untersuchung) immer mehr Konferenzdolmetscher eindringen:

Industriedolmetschen, Gesprächsdolmetschen, community interpreting, Gerichtsdolmetschen, außergerichtliches Dolmetschen (Polizei, Asylverfahren). Zur Zeit arbeiten meist Übersetzer in diesen Sektoren, die aber nicht die geeigneten Kompetenzen besitzen (Dolmetschprozess, Wissen über Kultur etc...)

Jahresvolumen

Wir sollten auch andere berufliche Tätigkeiten der Dolmetscher abfragen, wie z.B. Übersetzen oder Unterrichten. Korrelation zwischen diesen Tätigkeiten und dem Dolmetschen herstellen. Daraus ließe sich ersehen, bei welchen Sprachkombinationen es notwendig ist, für seinen Lebensunterhalt noch einen zweiten Beruf auszuüben. Diese Information ist auch wichtig für die Ausbildung (Dolmetschinstitute) und die Weiterbildung.

Chapter 5

Der Begriff "private market sector" sei nicht differenziert genug. Jacquy ist eventuell bereit, eine Unterteilung zu liefern. Der Privatmarkt zeichnet sich dadurch aus, dass frei verhandelt wird. Es gibt aber Kundenkategorien (insbesondere in IT, FR, GB, SV), wo die Honorare und Teamstärke weder verhandelt werden können noch Bestandteil eines "agreements" sind. Beispiele: Ministerien, Empfehlungen des Auswärtigen Amtes.

Vorschlag für die zweite Spalte   (number of days worked in year on the private market sector) eine Zeile hinzufügen: number of days worked in year for national bodies applying special terms.

Staff Interpreters arbeiten in einigen Ländern auch auf dem freien Markt (z.B. in Deutschland, insbesondere diejenigen mit einer Teilzeitstelle).

Die Antwort auf "number of days worked in year on the private market" sollte deshalb nicht auf "freelance interpreters only" beschränkt werden.

"Days refused": Bei der Auswertung darauf achten, dass die Zahl der abgelehnten Tage nicht zu dem Gesamtarbeitsvolumen des Berufes addiert wird. (Wenn ein Dolmetscher einen Auftrag ablehnt, erhält diesen Auftrag ein anderer. Diese Tage sollten nicht doppelt gezählt werden).

Chapter 6

Telefondolmetschen aufnehmen. Es wird in vielen Ländern auch am Telefon gedolmetscht (Beispiel: Telekomgesellschaften bieten einen solchen Service an, Ministerien engagieren Dolmetscher, die von zu Hause mit einer Konferenzschaltung ein bilaterales Gespräch dolmetschen, häufig benutzt für Japanisch, Chinesisch).

Wichtig ist die Korrelation zwischen den Dolmetsch"modes" (konsekutiv, chuchotage etc) und den Dolmetscharten (Gerichtsdolmetschen, Industriedolmetschen, Konferenzdolmetschen).

Neue Technologien

Nicht nur auf den Übertragungsweg abstellen. Es kann normale Konferenzen geben, wo ein Redner per Videokonferenz dazugeschaltet wird. Korrelation zwischen Sprachkombination und Technologien ist interessant.

 

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