Symbols: dos and don’ts

When note-taking for consecutive interpreting is mentioned the first thing that student interpreters ask about are symbols. And although it is true that knowing a reasonable number of very useful symbols can make our lives much easier, please don’t forget that symbols are relatively unimportant and certainly not a panacea for consecutive interpreting problems. If you don’t have a structured, consistent and meaningful note-taking system then no amount of symbols is going to help you.

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Language enhancement exercises for conference interpreters

“At advanced levels, where grammar has been more or less mastered, the main difference between foreign students and native speakers is that the latter have been exposed to their language for many years, over thousands and thousands of hours. As a result they have a wider cultural and contextual understanding of the language, a wider vocabulary and a commands of a wider range of registers. Constant contact with the language and the subjects that are discussed in that language mean that native-speakers have a huge head start on foreign learners.” (From Conference Interpreting – a Student’s Practice book, Andrew Gillies)

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Intonation in simultaneous interpreting


“Intonation is not a luxury. It’s a crucial part of communicating well. Getting it wrong in languages with little or no verb conjugation or noun declension (like English) can lead to being understood less well.  The moral of the story… make an effort to speak normally and with normal intonation patterns when in the booth. Record yourself onto a dictaphone to check how you’re doing”. Continue reading


Pues así, sin darnos cuenta, había llegado la semana de la visita a Bruselas. La semana que todos (yo desde luego sí) imaginábamos mientras enviábamos nuestros documentos de inscripción para la prueba de acceso al MIC. Ya estábamos allí, con nuestros trajes y nuestras libretas. Continue reading

CONSEC DEMO EN-FR: Plaisir du soleil?

Hi Felix.

First of all, congratulations for accepting to take part in this public exercise. This is certainly good practice for stress management and an excellent preparation for exams or tests !

Then a few comments about the speech. It is relatively long (over 6 minutes) and relatively easy : the speaker – who is a native- is clear; the structure of her speech is pretty straight forward and  the pace not too fast (although not as slow as you would think just listening to her..)

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