Questions for fellow interpreters and teachers

visual note-taking conference call notes

visual note-taking conference call notes (Photo credit: Austin Kleon)

Dear friends,

This is just a short note and a quick question. I’m still suffering from holiday 🙂 and I suppose you are too. But I have to start the final planning of my course this autumn (public service interpreting). And here’s a question for you.

As we have discussed both at #IntJC and other fora I would like to test a much more modular style this term. Apart from the obvious modules: memory, note-taking, consecutive and dialogue. I would also like to work with interpreter’s introduction, appearance, body language, figures, names, registers and collegiality. Do you have any other modules you would like to suggest?

Please help me brain storm!


Update August 20, 2012: Thank you so much for all your feed back. I start my course today, and I’m very excited to see how everything will work out.


12 thoughts on “Questions for fellow interpreters and teachers

  1. Culture and basic knowledge of current affairs. It was mentioned at an UN conference that a lot of people failed their tests and exams because they master the techniques but lack basic knowledge of the globalised world we live in. I know it´s not exactly our job as interpreting teachers but that and learning how to deal with clients, budgets, work with a booth partner can be very useful.

  2. aidagda is right about general knowledge and current affairs. She says “it’s not our job as interpreting teachers,” but it IS our job to make sure students teach themselves about them, keep up to date, and know how to find background knowledge quickly when they need it. Same thing for terminology resources.

    Sorry I couldn’t meet you at Forli, Elisabet, but I understand your devotion to your animals. We have seven cats.

    • I agree, we need to give students instruments to keep up to date, but also to provide background knowledge. Although we cannot hold a “cours de civilization”, we can slip bits and pieces into our teaching. I have added a task to find relevant articles during the different modules, I hope that will encourage them to read newspapers.

      Yes, very sorry we couldn’t meet, we had 5 beautiful puppies who are now adopted to nice families. I hope we will get another possibility to meet.

  3. How about ethics and professional standards? Basic material for any interpreting course, I’d think.

    You might also want to check out the course information for the community interpreting degree they offer at the University of La Laguna (in Spanish, but you can read that, right?). The course material includes accents and regional variations, language for specific purposes (legal, healthcare…), gender violence, immigration law, and some other very interesting modules:

    Click to access estructuraEUTISC.pdf

    Have a great summer, and hope to speak again soon!


    • Thanks for the links. Unfortunately, I don’t read Spanish :-(, or not much, but my colleague do. So we’ve worked it out 🙂
      Ethics and professional standards, of course. We talk about that all through the different modules. Gender is very interesting, I have not thought about that, but think it’s something worth adding. Hope to see you soon!

  4. I have been thinking of becoming a court interpreter.. but i can not find any information about what to do or where to start anywhere. I speak Spanish and i feel that being a court interpreter would be a great career for me but i need to learn more about it, it has been a struggle for me because like i mentioned above, i cant find anyone in Phoenix, AZ that could answer my questions or walk me through the process.

    What I really want to know is what schools should i look into? how long would it take to get certified or learn enough to begin working as an interpreter?…how difficult is it to get hired?.. what people like and dislike about the profession.. What is the working environment like? What is the stress level.. What kind of qualities do you need to do well in the position?… Any comments would be appreciated.

    I am currently working at a law firm as a paralegal, I began working here with out any experience at all. I really like it and have considered law school but the truth is i do not want to go to school for that long and have such a stressful career. I dont think i am passionate enough to become an attorney, i dont feel like all that loan debt and years in school is worth it to me. I have always liked translating for others and i like the idea of not having as much stress and still being able to be in court while helping others when there is a language barrier.

    If there is anyone out there that could help me, please feel free to contact me via email.

    Thank you very much!

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