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.

This film explains why we use symbols in the first place; what you might want to replaces with symbols; and how to use symbols effectively.

Andrew GILLIES is interpreter trainer, coordinator of AIIC Training and author of Conference Interpreting – a Student’s Practice book.

 

 

 

SCICtrain 3

This year was a very special year for the annual SCIC Universities Conference, as we were celebrating its 20th edition!  The title of the conference was

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The conference aimed to address the fact that both the worlds of interpreting and teaching are going through big changes, and that we therefore need to keep up with the (new, modern) times. Besides the big 20th birthday cake and celebrations, there were presentations from SCIC representatives as well as from trainers from around Europe and one from a colleague from DG INTE. The focus of these presentations was how we can best make use of blended learning to help students to become successful professional interpreters; one in particular focussed on how SCICtrain can be used as a teaching tool to supplement our traditional on-site assistance.

SCICtrain was launched in 2014 as a virtual video library to provide students and others interested in a career in interpreting with practical examples of conference interpreting. We wanted to give a clear and simple explanation of the full extent of the intellectual process at work when interpreting, without concealing the complexity and demanding requirements of the job. SCICtrain is part of our SCICcloud Project – a virtual store of information on our Virtual Classes and other e-learning material, such as the Speech Repository and Podcasts. We see it as an important element in our reflections on future e-learning projects, as currently being discussed by our e-learning think tank, and as announced at the conference.

Thanks to the expertise of our ACI colleague, Lourdes de Rioja, we are now able to unveil the 3rd edition of SCICtrain. A further 35 video clips have been added, bringing the total number up to over 100 (116 to be exact). A lot of time, effort and resources have gone into making this impressive library which includes a whole range of different kinds of clips: for example ‘talking-heads’ on what interpreting is all about, or on the importance of being able to prioritize information or manage stress; interviews about what it is really like to freelance for SCIC; mock tests to show students what to expect and of course demonstrations of professional-level consecutive and simultaneous interpretation.

New languages have been added (there are demonstrations of English into Portuguese in both modes and English into Dutch in both modes), as well as further videos about interpreting into a B- language. The structure of the library has also changed slightly, so you will now find the following categories:

– About SCICtrain and SCIC (6 videos)

– What is interpretation? (6 videos)

– Learning to interpret (12 videos)

– Consecutive interpretation (5 ‘theory-based’ videos and 27 ‘demonstration’ videos)

– Simultaneous interpretation (3 ‘theory-based’ videos and 27 ‘demonstration’ videos)

– Retour/B-language (5 ‘theory-based’ videos and 12 ‘demonstration’ videos)

– Tests (4 videos)

– Working as an interpreter (8 videos)

We hope that with the new videos and the new structure, SCICtrain will be even more useful for both trainers and students.

Many thanks to all the SCIC interpreters who have been involved with the project, and to Lourdes de Rioja.

SCICtrain 2

The 19th Annual SCIC-Universities Conference took place in Brussels on 26th and 27th March 2015 on the theme “(Re-)Making connections”. The world of Interpreting is evolving and all of us, universities and institutional employers alike, must adapt to new circumstances and user requirements by blending the use of new technologies with more traditional ways of teaching. We should aim to be at the forefront of changes in the educational approach, ensuring quality of content and accessibility so that our students have the opportunity to become successful professionals.

In this context, the second phase of our SCICtrain Project, which is available to the public after the Conference, is launched for the following purpose: to make SCIC’s knowledge and expertise available to interpreting students via a method that is used more frequently nowadays –  video-clips. Let’s remind ourselves what SCICtrain is about. It started in March 2014 as a virtual video library to provide students and others interested in a career in interpreting with practical examples of conference interpreting. We wanted to give a clear and simple explanation of the full extent of the intellectual process at work when interpreting, without concealing the complexity and demanding requirements of the job. SCICtrain is part of our SCICcloud Project – a virtual store of information on our Virtual Classes and other e-learning material, such as the Speech Repository and Podcasts. We have also included a collection of videos on how to prepare for meetings with documents, “booth manners”, myths about tests, the pleasure of interpreting and other such subjects. These have been incorporated into the different sections/shelves of our virtual library.

FOTO OFICIAL PRESENTACION SCICtrain 2

Javier Hernandez Saseta, Head of unit “Multilingualism and interpreter training support”, DG SCIC, European Commission and Lourdes De Rioja.

 In addition, as we wanted this platform to be multilingual, amongstthe new series of video clips, which are between 5 and 20 minutes long, we included interpretation demonstrations (both consecutive and simultaneous) into more languages (i.e. French, German, Italian and Spanish) as well as ones illustrating retour (from Latvian and Polish into English).

Cooperation with our ACI colleague, Lourdes de Rioja, on the first phase of SCICtrain has been extremely fruitful. We have continued to work together on the second phase in order to produce something new, while keeping the same format and principles which our users have been so positive about.

Javier Hernandez Saseta, Head of unit “Multilingualism and interpreter training support”, DG INTERPRETATION, SCIC, EUROPEAN COMMISSION.

SCICtrain

SCICtrain – a new virtual video library on conference interpreter training

On 28th March, the second day of the annual SCIC-Universities conference, and as a follow-up to the SCiCLOUD initiative announced exactly a year before by Mr Brian Fox, DG SCIC launched “SCICtrain“, a new virtual video library on conference interpreter training offered by DG SCIC interpreter/trainers.

SCICtrain

C. Durand, L. De Rioja, M. Benedetti

For some years, DG SCIC had been playing with the idea of conveying important information on conference interpreter training  using online video material, because we were aware that young people and students have become more and more attracted by the power of image, by new technologies in general, and by new approaches for acquiring information and knowledge. Without abandoning on-site training assistance – which remains of paramount importance in the teaching process – we felt that distance learning tools such as the Speech Repository, Virtual Classes and other still-to-be-invented didactic resources had a rapidly growing potential and would be a perfect supplement to our traditional on-site assistance to universities.

What we were looking for was a virtual video library which would show students or other young people practical examples of what conference interpreting is. We wanted to explain and decompose the intellectual process at work in a clear and simple way but without concealing the sophistication of the exercise and the demanding requirements of the job.

We were lucky enough to find someone who had everything that it takes to turn this idea into a concrete project: our ACI colleague Lourdes de Rioja, who a few years ago had created a personal website and a blog on conference interpreting which many of us have regularly visited, called “A Word In Your Ear”. It is this unique profile combining cinema, interpreting and training expertise which, at the end of 2013, led DG SCIC to entrust Lourdes with the task of implementing what has become known as the “SCICtrain” project.

deRiojaToday, SCICtrain contains 41 video-clips which were shot by Lourdes on DG SCIC premises (except Dick Fleming’s two presentations, filmed in La Laguna, Tenerife) between January and March 2014 and whose actors are all (active or former) DG SCIC interpreters with a strong interest in training the next generation. Most of them take part in regular Pedagogical Assistance missions and/or are involved in Virtual Classes with partner universities, and some are senior trainers who had already gained a rich expertise at the time when DG SCIC used to run an in-house training scheme.

The virtual video library is divided into 6 sections:

– a general presentation given by our Director General Marco Benedetti;

– an introduction to conference interpreting;

– consecutive interpreting;

– simultaneous interpreting;

– other techniques (such as retour interpreting);

– other resources and tools (subjects such as the importance of the mother tongue, self-training, “culture générale”, etc).

Please take a look at the various modules which are 5 to 20 minutes long and are a mixture of theoretical presentations (but with many practical tips) and real demonstrations in which DG SCIC interpreters have tried to show and explain how fascinating the interpreting profession can be.

Claude DURAND, Head of unit  “Multilingualism and interpreter training support”, DG INTERPRETATION, SCIC, EUROPEAN COMMISSION.

My consecutive kit

Consec Test Speech: Boudica

A consecutive demo: Boudica

Test speech analysis: Boudica

Note-taking in consecutive interpreting. On the reconstruction of an individualised language.

Kurt Kohn & Michaela Albl- Mikasa.

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A consecutive demo: los locávoros

THE MAKING OF:

Gemma and I are both interpreters and we were asked to do a speech and consecutive for you to show you just one example of how an interpreter’s consecutive notes are used to convey a message in a lively way, so that the interpreter is taking real ownership of the speaker’s message. As we did not have much time for filming, Lourdes suggested we met beforehand and ran through the speech together to see if there might be any potential stumbling blocks for my notes, as that was the focus of her video this time. So this was not a real test situation (as I was not hearing it totally for the first time) but I had NOT taken notes from it the first time so the film shows me actually taking notes from a speech having heard the story once before. The speech was not read. It was a story that Gemma was telling and she did not necessarily say exactly what she had said when I heard it the first time earlier that day. So it was very close to being a real consecutive situation but not quite!

In a way that is more like a meeting as you would be aware of the subject and vocabulary beforehand and would be conveying arguments which are less unpredictable than in a test or an open competition. The speech was not that difficult and only lasted about five minutes, I think. In a test one might be asked to do a speech of seven or eight minutes and that is perfectly possible when one has been trained to do it.  As conference interpreters we mostly do simultaneous interpretation so consecutive is sadly not such a frequent occurrence but I believe it is the best possible way of learning to be a good interpreter because your powers of analysis and understanding have to come to the fore. You cannot allow yourself to get hung up over one word or the way to say something. The great advantage is that you have the time to listen to the whole speech before you render it in your mother tongue so you are in almost the same position as the speaker and can really try to put across the whole message. That is why I think consecutive interpretation is actually a great deal more satisfying to do even though it never stops being a bit nerve-wracking ! Adrenalin is never a bad thing though and I really recommend all student interpreters not to be scared of consecutive and even to try to enjoy it!”

Anne and Gema are both staff interpreters at the SCIC, DG INTERPRETATION, European Commmission.

Consecutive note-taking

How best to avoid the potential pit-falls of poor note-taking. Dick, formerly organiser of EU Commission interpreter training course and subsequently trainer of trainers, tells us. Dick, antiguo organizador del curso de formación de intérpretes de la Comisión Europea y, desde entonces, formador de formadores, nos explica cómo evitar las potenciales trampas de una mala toma de notas.