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Dear All, I am going to teach interpreting to EFL students of English who are majoring in Translation studies. At BA level, they have 3 courses of Oral Translation (or interpretation) 1,2, and 3 which are presented in term 6, 7, and 8 respectively. I want to have your ideas on how to start the first course as an introduction to Interpreting. what I have in mind is to teach them some of the basic skills, like note-taking, paraphrasing, shadowing, summarizing, public speaking, anticipation, and some memory exercises for improving their ability in handling the workload of an interpreter. The next term would focus mainly on Consecutive and the last term would lead to Simultaneous one. I'll be delighted to have your professional ideas. P.S. their mother tongue is Persian which makes their job even more challenging, cuz it has nothing to do with Latin!

asked 22 Jan, 04:29

esmailpour%20E's gravatar image

esmailpour E
427


You should get Conference interpreting, A complete course and Conference interpreting, A complete course and Trainer's guide. They do cover questions about course design and would be a great starting point.

See also:

Conference interpreting training programmes best practice

Reading suggestions for trainers

I'm sure @Andy will have a few more elaborate thoughts on the subject! :-)

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answered 22 Jan, 07:33

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦
7.2k141829

edited 22 Jan, 08:55

Thanks for your suggestion :) I'll refer to the book

(22 Jan, 14:40) esmailpour E

I do not know how many contact hours you've got for those three courses, what the level of students' English is and how the studies are structured in general (do students usually continue their education, getting an MA in translation/interpreting?). However, generally speaking I would refrain from teaching simultaneous at BA level, unless students are already exceptionally good at English, there is an extreme shortage of interpreters in the market, or the courses you teach include lots and lots of hours per week. (It's possible though that there is a curriculum you are obliged to follow and in the third term it explicitly includes simultaneous interpreting. I'm just saying this would be far from optimal.)

Other than that, I would start with monolingual exercises in Persian: first some introduction to public speaking, then paraphrasing simple stories with no notes (i.e. 'interpreting' into the same language as the source language) while practicing memory techniques, developing the ability to analyze and summarize, and then introducing note-taking. In the course of studies, analogical bilingual exercises (from English into Persian) would be gradually introduced (but only when students have mastered their monolingual versions).

Depending on the aim of the course (are students supposed to work as interpreters immediately after graduation?), the last term could be used for some more reality-like consecutive practice (matters that are closer to the reality of a consecutive interpreter: elements of community interpreting, business interpreting, liaison interpreting etc.) and for interpreting into English. I would also provide students with an introduction into simultaneous interpreting, but this would be very brief: not some semester-long targeted practice, just a couple of beginner classes so that students would know what simultaneous feels like and whether they want to follow this path in their future education.

These are just a couple of humble remarks on my part, @Andy will indeed have a few more elaborate thoughts on the subject :).

Plus, there is quite a lot of excellent literature on interpreting and teaching interpreting, as Gaspar has already indicated. :)

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answered 22 Jan, 14:33

Joanna's gravatar image

Joanna
8794412

Thanks for your explanation. Each course will have 16 sessions, 1.5 hours long, and once a week!!! I know it is TOO little for such a course, what it can be is just an introduction to the world of Interpretation! Nothing more, I bet. And the level of students is almost intermediate, there are some lower intermediate students too! I know the course would be really challenging for them, but it's part of the curriculum and must be covered in a way or another... Since Interpreting is challenging enough, fewer students are eager to enter the area, so I am not sure if they would pursue it or not. What is usual in Iran is that students would continue their education in TEFL, English Literature, or English Translation studies. There is no MA program in Interpreting in Iran!

So, your idea is to present all those skills in their mother tongue in their first course and when they accomplished them, little by little I move into bilingual texts ...right?

There are some students who are really talented in English in the class but I can surely tell you that they won't get a job as an interpreter right after their graduation! But what I have in mind is to (at least) familiarize them with the concept of interpretation and its prerequisites, and the common forms of it (CI and SI), therefore at the end of the third course, those who are willing to devote more time on the profession would have some ideas what to work on and how Thanks again for your kind reply ;)

(22 Jan, 15:06) esmailpour E

Thanks Dear Joanna, very helpful ;)

(23 Jan, 03:31) esmailpour E

Hi

I would remove "note-taking" from your list of basic skills and cover...

  1. public speaking
  2. memory
  3. and analysis (including your "anticipation" - not close grammar exercise anticipation but where-is-the-speech-going type anticipation)

...in the first term and a half. (I teach public speaking, memory and analysis first (the latter includes your summarising and anticipating). And I never have enough time to spend on them. You do so you're lucky!)

Make sure you teach them how they might listen in order to remember a speech rather than just saying, "listen to this and remember it". So you could introduce them to the ideas of listening for a narrative, visualising what they here, looking for the structure of the speech etc. One nice and relatively untheoretical way of showing memories limitations and ways to overcome them is to give the students a list of 10-20 objects and ask them to remember them. You will have organised them in advance so there are groups within the list. Belgium Holland Luxembourg Finland Sweden Norway Denmark Greece Spain France Italy Hungary Slovakia Poland Romania As a list it's hard to remember but if you group them as follows it's easier... Benelux ... Scandinavia ... old EU member states on the Mediterranean ... countries with borders with Ukraine

Obviously this is a very European example that I had to hand but you can do the same with something more familiar to your students. Chunking like this is fundamental and we all naturally do it all the time. Internet addresses are a another example.... interpreters.fr/simultaneous is much easier to remember than hfjophehtg.dhold/dlkg;ohh Why? Because we see it as 3 chunks not 30 letters. The next step is to see a speech as chunks rather than a string of words.

In the second and third terms introduce note-taking and full consecutive. And practice it! Since their language level needs improvement you could also spend quite a lot of time on giving speeches in English and speech-creation (learning to build a speech, write speaking notes and speaking from mind maps). Creating speeches is a good complementary exercise to analysis (learning how speeches are built up) and the students would no doubt benefit from practising speaking in English (and this has the advantage of giving the other students relatively easy material to interpret from). You can do a lot of language work this way. Film the students speaking if you can and get them to make a transcription of what they say in English. It's a brutal but excellent language exercise.

Shadowing is more of a language exercise. I would do it at the very end with a brief intro to SIM. There is not much point doing SIM with undergraduates who also have a low language level (by interpreting standards). An brief intro over a couple of weeks is nice to whet their appetite though.

There are lots of ways of introducing and practising these skills with a minimum of theory but that I don't have time to list here. You should definitely read the books recommended above. You might also try my book Conf. Interpreting - A Student's Practice book http://www.routledge.com/authors/i7998-andrew-gillies (apologies for the self-promo everyone). There is lots more info there that you should take on board.

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answered 23 Jan, 09:23

Andy's gravatar image

Andy
7.2k212839

edited 24 Jan, 05:12

Dear Andy, thanks for your comment. In your idea, is there any other required skill to be covered in the first term except the ones you mentioned from 1-4 regarding the level of my students, the time, the context,...? (Would you kindly give me the list of skills you think are needed for the first term) And do you think it is needed for me to give them some theories or explanation of what they are and how they work best or just provide them with practices? For instance, in the case of memory, should I explain STM, Working memory, and LTM, the ways they help remembering information etc...or just give them some practices that improve brain functioning, efficient use of both hemispheres, involving both ...? (wouldn't their brain be overloaded with it?)

(23 Jan, 13:07) esmailpour E
1

I teach public speaking, memory and analysis first (the latter includes your summarising and anticipating). And I never have enough time to spend on them. You do so you're lucky!
There are lots of ways of introducing and practising these skills with a minimum of theory but that I don't have time to list here. You should definitely read the books recommended above. You might also try my book Conf. Interpreting - A Student's Practice book http://www.routledge.com/authors/i7998-andrew-gillies (apologies for the self-promo everyone).

One nice and relatively untheoretical way of showing memories limitations and ways to overcome them is to give the students a list of 10-20 objects and ask them to remember them. You will have organised them in advance so there are groups within the list.

Belgium Finland Greece Holland Norway Poland Luxembourg France Slovakia Denmark Spain Romania Sweden Italy Hungary

As a list it's hard to remember but if you group them as follows it's easier...

Benelux Scandinavia old EU member states on the Mediterranean countries with borders with Ukraine

Obviously this is a very European example that I had to hand but you can do the same with something more familiar to your students.

Chunking like this is fundamental and we all naturally do it all the time. Internet addresses are a another example.... interpreters.fr/simultaneous is much easier to remember than hfjophehtg.dhold/dlkg;ohh Why? Because we see it as 3 chunks not 30 letters.

The next step is to see a speech as chunks rather than a string of words.

(24 Jan, 03:25) Andy

I've had answered your comment/question as comment, which I'll leave here for you for a while. But I've also incorporated that answer into an edited version of my answer above for everyone else. I'll delete the comment above later.

(24 Jan, 05:09) Andy

Muchas gracias, senor ;) I'll consider your points. Very helpful

(25 Jan, 04:44) esmailpour E

Thank you for all the information.

So, your idea is to present all those skills in their mother tongue in their first course and when they accomplished them, little by little I move into bilingual texts ...right?

Yes, I would generally introduce those skills in students' mother tongue. I would not wait with moving on to bilingual practice until students have mastered all those skills: when they're already good at, say, paraphrasing short texts without notes, I would start introducing similar texts in English for interpreting practice (you don't have to wait with that until they've mastered note-taking etc.).

I was taught the same way (most of those basic skills were introduced in my mother tongue) and I think this approach was highly effective, as we could really focus on learning note-taking, memory techniques, analysis etc. instead of thinking about how to phrase something in the other language. I think it's even more important if students' knowledge of English is quite limited.

For the simultaneous part: I once taught a brief course: 'Introduction to interpreting'. This was even shorter than yours (just one term, 1.5 h once a week), with a group of students of different backgrounds and with varying levels of language skills. I focused on consecutive, with just a little bit of simultaneous. What worked out really well in that group (apart from the number of various pre-interpreting in the booth) was taking speech topics from the consecutive part of the class and using them later on in the booth, to ensure a smooth start and reduce the number of lexical problems.

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answered 22 Jan, 15:46

Joanna's gravatar image

Joanna
8794412

edited 23 Jan, 10:47

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question asked: 22 Jan, 04:29

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