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I've noticed (once again) how difficult and impressing it can be for students or young graduates to speak in public when there's consecutive to do.

Did any of you take public speaking classes during your initial training or later on during your career?

For those of you who are training to-be interpreters, do you have specific public speaking classes in your respective countries to recommend?

Are there similar exercises you'd recommend one can practice alone or in small groups of people who do already know each other?

asked 14 Jul '14, 14:33

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

edited 14 Jul '14, 16:43

We had a wonderful public speaking module during the first half of the first semester in the first year of our two-year program. I don't know if it still exists there anymore.

We started out just getting used to speaking from a podium in front of our new classmates. Then we read speeches in our A languages, which taught us to read ahead and to think about the sense of what we were saying. Then we moved on to paraphrasing the speeches A to A, so basically interpreting them without changing language. When we came back to merely reading the speech, we couldn't remember why we were so scared! It was a hugely useful class.

What also helped was that each time we performed in any interpreting class, we had to use a podium. It increased our stress levels, but got us to feel comfortable. When I left school I found it uncomfortable at first to interpret sitting down (though I got used to it!), but the practice at the podium has served me well. When I have had to interpret before a very large audience, stage fright was minimal because I felt at home.

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answered 14 Jul '14, 20:04

JuliaP's gravatar image


Interesting exercises and set-up (if a little sink-or-swim). Where did you study Julia?

(15 Jul '14, 02:28) Andy

The Monterey Institute, back under Bill Weber. We had a few classes during that first semester that were introductions to various skills like public speaking, consecutive note taking, intro to simultaneous (where we shadowed and paraphrased A to A), and intro to translation (also paraphrasing). What was really nice, too, was that all these classes were taught in English (even when we had exercises in A languages), and gathered students from different languages in the same class.

I don't understand the sink-or-swim part of your comment, though. Other than that first time at a podium, where we all had issues (after all, most of us didn't come from cultures where we stood up to answer questions in secondary school or university), it seemed like a good progression.

(15 Jul '14, 04:42) JuliaP

I just meant standing at the front on a podium is potentially quite a harsh way to start learning to speak in public (of course it depends on how it's handled by the teacher).

(15 Jul '14, 07:47) Andy

Hi again - We did stand in front of the class, but behind one of those wonderful solid speaker podiums, so we had somewhere to hide from the imagined rotten tomatoes! Plus, our teacher was a wonderful, motherly sort, so we had lots of support.

OTOH, once we realized that we wouldn't throw up, we wouldn't die, and nothing happened even if we mispronounced the main word, it was fine. And what I really appreciate now (though not back then) is that we all felt the same fear that our future delegates would feel, so could empathize a bit more when we started work and got less than optimal speakers who were also afraid.

(15 Jul '14, 14:51) JuliaP
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question asked: 14 Jul '14, 14:33

question was seen: 4,275 times

last updated: 15 Jul '14, 14:51

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