The types of interpreting

Modes and types of interpreting and also lexical aspects of interpreting. Handling context-free and context-bound words. Handling equivalent-lacking words and translators false friends. Translation of cultures and political terms. Translation of verbs.

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interpreting lexical word political

Nowadays it is the epoch of intercultural communication and tourism. People of different nationalities deal with each other and there come into being the problem of misunderstanding because of different languages. In order to avoid this problem people require interpreters' services.

The present graduation diploma paper deals with the study of lexical aspects of interpreting, which present certain interest both for the theoretical investigation and for practical language use.

The topicality of the investigation is explained on one hand by the profound interest to the function of the lexical peculiarities of different languages and on the other hand, by developing culture of different societies. With the course of time, there appeared a lot of neologisms in different languages and they do not have their equivalents in other languages.

The scientific novelty of the diploma paper is defined by concrete result of investigation: special emphasis is laid on various lexical peculiarities of the English and Russian languages and the ways of translating them.

The objective of the diploma paper is to define some lexical aspects of oral translation and find the best way of interpreting them from English into Russian and vise verse.

According to this general aim, we have put the following tasks:

- to investigate the lexical aspects of frequent occurrence

- to study the difficulties of their translation

- to find out the borrowed words in the source languages and the ways of their rendering into the target ones

- to define cultural peculiarities of English and Russian native speakers

- to discover the neologisms in political terms

The methods of investigations used in this diploma paper are as follows:

- for the analysis of interpreting types we use descriptive method

- to investigate the system of note-taking in consecutive interpreting we use descriptive method

- the study of different cultural realia of the English and Russian languages is made with the help of comparative and translational methods

- for the analysis of verbal constructions in English and Russian grammar we use the method of component analysis

The theoretical significance of the diploma paper is determined by the necessity of detailed and comprehensive analyses of lexical difficulties of oral translation from English into Russian and vice verse. These lexical aspects form a very difficult problem for interpreters. There are words and terms that have only one equivalent in the target language and knowing this equivalent prevent from making incorrect interpreting.

The practical value of the research is seen in the rising of the theory of translation potential. The results of the study can help to understand better the essentials and specifics of interlanguage communication, their influence on each other, ways of translation from English into Russian, and in its turn, it can improve the methods of interpreters' preparation. The material and the results of the given diploma paper can also serve as the material for the theoretical courses for students in universities of foreign languages as well can be used for practical lessons in translation.

The material includes:

a) Different types of explanatory and translation dictionaries;

b) Scholarly literature on translation theory, lexicology, stylistics and grammar;

c) The pieces of artistic literature of the British and American authors of the XX century;

d) The pieces of articles from the British and Russian newspapers The Times and Moscow News

The present diploma paper consists of an introduction where there are the main tasks of this paper and the methods of achieving these tasks, two chapters where in the first chapter there is a general description of types and modes of interpreting and a system of note-taking in consecutive interpreting and where in second one there are the ways of translation of context-free and context-bound words, equivalent-lacking words and translators false friends, ttranslation of cultures and political terms and verbs and adverbial modifiers of time, conclusion and bibliography.

1. Types of interpreting

1.1 Modes and types of interpreting

Interpreting (or interpretation) is an activity that consists of facilitating oral or sign language communication, either simultaneously or consecutively, between two or more speakers who are not speaking (or signing) the same language. Note that the words interpreting and interpretation can both be used to refer to this practice, the word interpreting is commonly used in the profession and in the field of translation studies in an attempt to avoid other meanings of the word interpretation. The term interpreter refers to the practitioner who translates orally for parties conversing in different languages or utilizing sign language. Interpreters should convey not only elements of meaning, but also the intention and feelings of the original speaker. In fact, the end result is an intermediate stage of communication which aims to allow listeners of the target language to experience the message in a way that is as close as possible to the experience of those who understand the original. [10, p. 12]

Refers to the way in which interpreting is offered. These include simultaneous (at the same time) and consecutive (after utterance).

Simultaneous interpreting. In some situations, the interpretation is given while the source speaker is speaking, as quickly as the interpreter can reformulate the message in the target language. Normally, in simultaneous interpreting between spoken languages the interpreter sits in a sound-proof booth, usually with a clear view of the speaker, at a microphone, listening through headphones to the incoming message in the source language; the interpreter relays the message in the target language into the microphone to whosoever is listening. Simultaneous interpreting is also the most common mode used by sign language interpreters. Simultaneous interpreting is sometimes referred to as simultaneous translation and the interpreter referred to as the translator. These terms are incorrect, as discussed in the distinction between interpreting and translation above.

Simultaneous interpretation, in which the interpreter speaks at the same time as the speaker, is the most common mode of interpreting used in court. Generally, simultaneous interpreting is done from English into the second language, because it is intended to enable the defendant to understand what is going on in court proceedings. The U.S. Constitution states that every criminal defendant has a right to be present at all stages of the proceedings, and the courts have interpreted this to mean that non-English-speaking defendants are not present unless everything is interpreted into their native language for them. Therefore, the court interpreter is required to interpret everything that is said in the courtroom so that the defendant hears exactly what an English-speaking defendant would hear. This does not mean that the court interpreter explains what the proceedings mean; the interpreter must convey every single statement that is uttered in the courtroom, at the same language level or register in which it is stated, regardless of the defendant's ability to understand the concepts involved. Many of the proceedings are conducted at a rapid pace, as judges and attorneys are going through routine steps that they have done countless times before. The language they use is often difficult, if not impossible, for the uninitiated to understand. The challenge for the court interpreter is to render their statements into a target-language version (the target language is the language into which you are interpreting; the source language is the language out of which you are interpreting) that is as intelligible to the average non-English-speaking layman as the original message is to the average English-speaking layman, without adding or omitting anything.

Simultaneous interpretation is actually a misnomer, in that the word simultaneous suggests that the interpreter is interpreting a message as she hears it. In fact, there is a delay between the moment the interpreter hears a thought and the moment she renders that thought into the target language, because it takes time to understand the original message and generate a target-language rendition of it. Meanwhile, the speaker goes on to the next thought, so the interpreter must generate the target-language version of the first thought while processing the speaker's second thought, and so on. This delay is known as decalage, from the French word for time lag. The longer the interpreter is able to wait before beginning the target-language version, the more information she will have and the more accurate her target-language version will be.

Note that we have been speaking in terms of thoughts rather than words. It is the interpreter's task to convey the meaning of the original message. Every language organizes meaning differently, and trying to find direct equivalents in two languages often leads to absurd results. For example, consider the English expression to hand down a ruling. To translate that literally into another language is likely to produce ludicrous results-the equivalents of hand and down, for example, are unlikely to be present in a good translation into the target language. Thus, as the interpreter is listening to the source-language message, she must cast aside the external structure, the words, and attend to the underlying meaning. [21]

Whispered interpreting. In whispered interpreting, (also called chuchotage after the French word for the same) the interpreter sits or stands next to the (small) intended audience and interprets simultaneously in a whisper. This mode does not require any equipment. Whispered interpretation is often used in situations when the majority of a group speaks one language, and a limited number of people (ideally no more than three) do not speak that language. Consecutive interpreting. In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter starts speaking after the source-text speaker has finished. (The speech may be divided into sections).Normally, in consecutive interpreting, the interpreter is alongside the speaker, listening and taking notes as the speech progresses. When the speaker has finished, or comes to a pause, the interpreter reproduces (consecutively) the message in the target language, in its entirety and as though he or she was making the original speech. Frequently, an experienced consecutive interpreter will prefer to interpret phrase by phrase, or even shorter portions of a sentence, in such a way as to approximate simultaneous interpreting. This method requires the speaker to pause between phrases and clauses long enough to allow the interpreter to render each portion of the speech instantly into the target language, without having to take time to take notes and without running the risk of forgetting any detail of the speech. This phrase-by-phrase method is frequently used in a number of settings, such as speeches before an audience, legal depositions, recorded statements, interpreting for a witness at a court hearing or trial, and others. The three stages of a consecutive interpreter's work are the understanding of the speaker's original message, the immediate analysis of its content and the re-expression of the same content in another language, with the help of some notes the interpreter writes down upon hearing the original message. The understanding we refer to here is not of words but of ideas, since an interpreter has to convey concepts. But what happens if an interpreter doesn't know a word or an expression that he/she hears in a speech? First of all we can underline that an interpreter can understand a speaker's meaning without actually understanding every single word and expression used.

For example, let's imagine that a delegate says:

- I don't think that the advisory committee is the appropriate forum for discussion of this point. What is important is that the groundwork be done in the technical working parties, in order to prepare the basis for a decision in the executive committee.

Let's assume that the interpreter understands neither forum nor groundwork. Yet this does not prevent him/her from understanding that (1) the advisory committee is not the right place to discuss the matter, and (2) the question has to be properly prepared for the executive committee by the technical working parties. The interpretation is possible without all the words and without changing the meaning. There are other occasions, however, where a word is too important to be left out. In a paragraph like this, for instance:

- Given the topography of the country, the construction of motorways has been very expensive. The Norwegians have found the solution to their financial problems by imposing tolls. And these are pretty expensive. The roads are wonderfully built, and are a pleasure to drive upon, with beautiful scenery, but when the poor drivers get to the end of their journey and have to pay the toll, they certainly feel that their wallets are much lighter. [21]

The key word here is toll, and if the interpreter does not know it there can be problems. But the interpreter can also benefit from working in consecutive, since after hearing the whole speech, he/she should be able to deduce the meaning of toll from the context, given the numbers of clues they have: here it is clear that we have to do with a sum of money. Moreover, interpreters cannot be expected to be encyclopedic dictionaries, and they must accept that there are times when they do not know a word or an idiomatic expression. In a situation of direct contact with the delegates, the interpreter must admit his/her ignorance and, if necessary, clarify the question with the delegates. On the other hand, the interpreter does not have the right to guess at meanings in order to hide a normally possible, even if embarrassing, situation. Furthermore, in order to understand meaning without knowing all the lexical items, and to be able to deduce from context, interpreters must in any case have a thorough knowledge of their working languages, and that's one of the reasons why it takes three to four years on average to form a professional with sufficient knowledge to allow him/her to undertake this career.

Another key element in interpreting is the kind of attention required, that is to say an active attention, which must lead the interpreter to ask him/herself: - What does the speaker mean? Let's examine an example:

Despite the apparent confidence shown by the government in the latest measure it has proposed to boost the economy, business confidence remains low and the consumer climate is gloomy. [22]

Here we have three ideas, immediately expressed:

(1) The confidence of the government;

(2) The confidence is apparent;

(3) Despite this confidence, something bad is going on.

These are ideas that have to be transmitted, not through a word by word analysis, but after analyzing the whole paragraph. The kind of attention needed here is not a natural gift: it is something which can be internalized through a specific training, and requires a great concentration power, a clear mind as well as a sound psychophysical condition.

Speeches may be of different kinds. They can present logical arguments showing both points of view on a question before arriving at a synthetic conclusion, they can be a sequence of logical deductions leading to an obvious conclusion according to the speaker's point of view, and they may simply be descriptive, focusing on an event, a scene or a situation. There are polemical speeches, whose purpose is to convince the audience, and rhetorical ones, where content is secondary, the main aim being to pay tribute to somebody or some organization through elegant style and cultural references, and there are elusive ones, where the main aim is not communicating anything or hiding something.

If a speaker is following a logical line of thought, weighing up pros and cons, the interpreter must be able to spot the turning points in the speech, and therefore has to pay attention to discursive linking devices such as but, however, on the other hand, conversely, on the contrary, etc. If the speech follows a series of deductions, the interpreter must pay attention to links such as as, given that, therefore, consequently, because, thence, henceforward, which can all be key words. In this case, the interpreter shouldn't miss any stage of the reasoning, lest the whole speech structure comes tumbling down. In the case of a narrative, chronological speech, it goes without saying that an interpreter must pay due attention to time phrases, dates and verb tenses. The audience wants to know what happened and when. As concerns descriptive speeches, where there can be no logical succession of ideas, the interpreter has to decide the importance of the information and, if the speech is too fast or too entangled, note down as much as possible of the main ideas. Speeches may also be polemic in nature, and in this case the interpreter must try not only to convey the content of the original, but also the nuances and the intensity of the feelings expressed. Or they may be rhetorical, where form becomes more important than content, such as in dinner or farewell speeches, in which the spirit of the speech, rather than its exact details, must be forcefully conveyed. In such a situation, special attention must be paid to images, metaphors and similes, anecdotes, jokes and so on.

One golden rule, however, must be remembered: the interpreter must make no addition to a speech, under no circumstance, as his/her job is to communicate a message as it is, without adding or deleting anything. In the analysis of a message, the interpreter has to identify the main ideas and give them their proper relevance in the interpretation. Moreover, owing to the intrinsic difficulty of a speech or to the speaker's speed, he/she might be forced to omit one or more elements of the original. It is clear that if the interpreter doesn't translate some details, the interpretation will not be perfect but still adequate, whereas, if he/she misses out significant points of the discourse, the result will be a seriously flawed performance.

Indeed, interpreters should be capable of providing a summary of a speech, since delegates often don't want a detailed interpretation but only an exhaustive and precise summary of what has been said. Generally, one can say that delegates need answers to these three basic questions: who does what, and when, and who says or thinks what.

Let's take an example:

- The Secretary-General has put forward to the member states a new proposal for the reform of the functioning of the U:N. US State Department sources conformed yesterday that, although in principle they recognized the need for reform, they did not see it being along the lines suggested by the Secretary-General

All this could be reduced to:

- The Secretary-General has made a proposal for U.N reform. The US has said that it is against the proposal, although it is in favor of reform in principle-

This simplification represents the main ideas according to the subject-verb-object model, but we have to keep in mind that there are always secondary details, expressed by adverbs, adjectives, lists of examples, exclamations which also have a role to play in the speech, and that, if left out, don't necessarily impinge on the substance of the message.

To sum up, the interpreter has to stress the most important ideas of a speech, pay great attention to verb forms, identify the relative value of the secondary elements of the discourse and leave out anything which is irrelevant to the understanding of the original message.

A speech is not only a sequence of ideas, but also a series of ideas related to one another in a particular way. Ideas may be linked by logical consequences, logical causes, put together without cause-effect relations, and may also be expressed by a series of opposing concepts. In the first and second case, the interpreter will devote special attention to the connectors used - e.g. therefore, so, consequently, as a result, due to, owing to, as, since, because - whereas in the case of sequential ideas the interpreter should not abuse the word and, thereby avoiding the risk of stylistically impoverishing the translation. [21]

As regards oppositions, we must be aware that they can be of different kinds: they can offer an alternative, express a contradiction, contrast two situations or simply attenuate a previous idea.

For example:

(1) The strong mark may not be good for our exports, but it holds down inflation. (two alternatives)

(2) You claim that you have export problems, but our figures reveal a different situation. (contradiction)

(3) Certain countries apply a strict monetary policy, whereas others feel it more important to stimulate the economy. (contrast)

(4) This is a very serious proposal. However I think that we should. (attenuation of a previous idea)

Owing to these important differences, an interpreter must know the function of linguistic connectors between sentences in all his/her working languages.

The object is always to make the interpretation more clearly structured and therefore easier to be followed by the audience. A consecutive interpreter listens to a speech and then reproduces it in a different language. This means that he/she must resort to short-term memory. For this reason, mnemonic techniques are of paramount importance in interpreters' training.

One possibility is that of internally visualizing the content of a speech, creating images in one's mind, and concentrating on ideas, not on single words. Another option is that of connecting the main ideas to a series of numbers, but an effective technique is that of concentrating on the main ideas and on the links among them, trying to reproduce the structure of the speech as a kind of skeleton.

The objective is to create a telegraphic version of the discourse, and to link its different parts through its semantic-logical connections. In the context of speech analysis, we have to underline another basic point that is the importance of the beginning and the end of the text to be interpreted. The beginning is just like the starting point of a journey, and it often includes significant elements which are useful to understand the overall meaning of a speech. The end is usually the most important part of a message, since it contains its conclusions, or a summary of what has just been said, or a comment of vital significance, and therefore interpreters, sensing the end coming near, have to redouble their concentration in order to provide a precise, well-structured and clear oral translation of the final part of a speech.

After understanding and analyzing, interpreters have to re-express the speech they have just heard. It must be clear that they are not required to give an academically perfect translation. Their role is to make sure the speaker is understood by the audience.

What does this mean in practice?

First, interpreters must recognize that they are public speakers and therefore they have to establish contact with the audience, speaking clearly and articulating precisely. They are supposed to establish eye-contact with the audience, since there is always the risk of looking at their notes all the time, thereby losing contact and communicative interaction with the recipients of the message.

A good interpreter will look at his/her notes only from time to time, and express the translation in an effective way, without wavering or repeating ideas, through a steady but not monotonous rhythm. When dealing with figures, for instance, he/she will reduce the pace so that the delegates can jot down notes. The general gist of the speech will be conveyed also by means of a correct use of pauses and changes in tone, in order to enliven the performance.

Interpreting is a profession that is all about communication. In order to communicate well, interpreters have to make their own speech out of the speeches they interpret, and their speech must be faithful to the original and as accurate as possible.

Interpreters understand the ideas of a discourse and have to re-express the same ideas: therefore, they can invert the order of two sentences, merge two sentences in one, or divide long sentences up into a number of shorter ones.

In order to do that, they must have clearly understood and completely analyzed the original speech, before starting with the re-expression.

Here, there's another point to be kept in mind: real interpreters have to continue to work on their working languages, including their mother tongue, with the aim of keeping them rich, lively, effective and up-to-date.

Liaison interpreting. Liaison interpreting involves relaying between one, two or more people what is being said. This can be done after a short speech, or on a sentence-by-sentence basis consecutively or as whispering (chuchotage). No equipment is used apart from note-taking.

Conference interpreting. Conference interpreting is interpreting in a conference environment. Conference interpreting may be simultaneous or consecutive although the advent of multi-lingual meetings has seen a massive drop in the use of consecutive over the last 20 years. Conference interpreting is roughly but not exactly split into two types of market: the institutional market and the private market. International institutions (EU, UN, EPO, etc), holding multilingual meetings, often favour interpreting from a number of foreign languages into the interpreters' mother tongue. Local private markets tend to hold bilingual meetings (the local language plus one other) and the interpreters work both into and out of their mother tongue. The markets are by no means mutually exclusive. International Association of Conference Interpreters AIIC is the only worldwide association for conference interpreters. Founded in 1953, it brings together more than 2600 professional conference interpreters in over 80 countries.

Legal\court interpreting. Legal interpreting, or court or judicial interpreting, takes place in courts of justice or administrative tribunals and wherever a legal proceeding is held (such as a conference room for a deposition or the location of a sworn statement). Legal interpreting can take the form of consecutive interpreting of witnesses' statements, for example, or simultaneous interpreting of the entire proceedings by electronic means for one or more of the people in attendance. Depending on the regulations and standards adhered to per state and venue, court interpreters usually work alone when providing consecutive interpreting services, or as a team when simultaneous interpreting is required. In addition to mastery of the source and target languages, an excellent knowledge of law and court procedure is required of court interpreters. Often they are required to have formal authorization from the State to work in the courts - and are then called sworn interpreters.

Focus Group (Marketing) interpreting. In focus group interpreting, an interpreter sits in a sound proof booth or in an observer's room with the clients. There is usually a one-way mirror between the interpreter and the focus group participants, wherein the interpreter can observe the participants, but they only see their own reflection. The interpreter hears the conversation in the original language through headphones and simultaneously interprets into the target language for the clients. Since there are usually anywhere between 2 to 12 (or more) participants in any given focus group, experienced interpreters will not only interpret the phrases and meanings but will also mimic intonation, speech patterns, tone, laughs, and emotions.

Escort interpreting. In escort interpreting, an interpreter accompanies a person or a delegation on a tour, on a visit, or to a meeting or interview. An interpreter in this role is called an escort interpreter or an escorting interpreter. This is liaison interpreting.

Public Service interpreting. Also called community interpreting, this type of interpreting takes place in the following fields: legal, health and local government services, social services, housing, environmental health, and education welfare. In community interpreting, there appear factors which are determinant and affect production, such as emotional content, hostile or polarized surroundings, created stress, the power relationship between the participants, and the degree of responsibility of the interpreter - in many cases more than extreme; even the life of the other person depending, in many cases, on the interpreter's work.

Medical interpreting. A subset of public service interpreting, medical interpreting consists of communication between a medical caregiver and a patient and/or family members, facilitated by one qualified to provide such a service. The interpreter must have a strong knowledge of medicine, common procedures, the patient interview and exam process, and the day-to-day workings of the hospital or clinic, in order to be able to serve both the patient and the caregiver. Medical interpreters often act as cultural liaisons for those who are not familiar with, or particularly comfortable in, a hospital setting.

Sing language interpreting. When hearing person speaks, an interpreter will render the meaning of the speaker into the sign language used by the deaf party. When a deaf person signs, an interpreter will render the meaning expressed in the signs into the spoken language of the hearing party. This may be performed either as simultaneous or consecutive interpreting. Skilled sign language interpreters will position themselves in a room or space that allows them both to be seen by deaf participants and heard by hearing participants clearly and to see and hear participants clearly. In some circumstances, an interpreter may interpret from one sign language into an alternate sign language. Deaf people also work as interpreters. They team with hearing counterparts to provide interpretation for deaf individuals who may not share the standard sign language used in that country. They also relay information from one form of language to another - for example, when a person is signing visually, the deaf interpreter could be hired to copy those signs into a deaf-blind person's hand plus include visual information. [21]

1.2 Note-taking in consecutive interpreting

The essential part of a consecutive interpreter's work is done in the activities already described: understanding, analysis and re-expression. Notes are an aid to enhance the work done on the basis of these three components, not being an end in themselves, but a means to an end. The main use of notes is to relieve memory. Although an interpreter may have understood the main ideas of a speech, it is almost impossible for him/her to recall all the elements of a five-minute speech, particularly if it contains numbers, names, lists, since such elements cannot be recalled on the basis of analysis and logic. Moreover, through notes the interpreter can reproduce the content and structure of a speech, stressing the main ideas, the secondary elements and the relations among them. Reflecting the speech structure in notes forces the interpreter to make an immediate, oral analysis of what he/she hears, and then, when reproducing the speech, the written structure can be used as a path to verbalize the speech again.

Practical Suggestions. Note-taking is, among other things, a mechanical exercise, and a number of practical suggestions are needed. Interpreters must take notes quickly and write on something convenient and easy to handle. A 15cm X 20cm stenographer's note-pad is recommended, and loose sheets should definitely be avoided. Interpreters should write only on one side of the sheets, and these must be clipped at the top, so that they can be turned quickly and easily. The best thing to be used when writing is still the good old lead pencil. It is fundamental that the notes should be easily readable, in order to allow visual contact between interpreters and the audience. Therefore, notes will be well spread on the page, written in large characters, and one single sentence can even occupy one sheet, without ecological concerns. Notes must be unequivocal: for instance, the abbreviation - ind must be always used to represent one idea, be it industrial or independent, without inventing symbols or abbreviations in the course of a conference: if a new symbol is used, it must be so clear as not to create problems.

What to note. The first thing to be noted should be the main ideas, first because they are the most significant elements of a speech, and secondly because they are the pillars of its structure. It is also important to systematically note the links between the different ideas as well to divide them very clearly. Another element that has to be clear is the point of view being expressed: the audience must immediately realize who is speaking. As far as verbs are concerned, there are two basic things, which must appear in the notes: verb tenses, with special attention to conditional forms, and modal verbs, whose semantic role in the sentence is always of paramount importance. Other fundamental data are numbers, dates and proper names, which must be noted accurately, being preferable in a good interpretation to miss some elements of another sentence than to get names or statistics wrong. These are some of the basic needs in consecutive interpreting as regards note-taking. Of course, interpreters have their own styles, and they could note down almost everything, or just the main elements, if they trust their short-term memory. Anyway, noting down everything, without paying the proper attention to active listening, must be avoided at all costs.

How to Note. Notes should reflect the structure of a speech clearly so as to help interpreters reproduce that structure in their interpretation. On the basis of the fundamental subject-verb-object structure, it is necessary to separate these elements clearly and to note them always in the same position on the sheets. These positions will form a diagonal axis, from left to right and from top to bottom, following this scheme:




leaving a lot of space on the same sheet so that the secondary elements of a sentence could be noted too. The beginning of each sentence must be very clear, and notes must be taken in a concise, non-literary manner.

The left-hand margin and Lists. The left-hand margin is all-important, since in this section of the sheet the subjects of and the links between the sentences are to be noted. Some interpreters may choose to leave a left-hand margin of one to two centimeters for links only. In the previous example, it is immediately clear that the words: Hungary - because - but - so - are to be found on the same column on the left-hand margin of the sheet. Obviously, on the one hand, ideas must be clearly linked and, on the other, they have to be clearly separated, and to this end, we normally use a horizontal or diagonal line to indicate the separation between two sentences. As to lists, the general principle is that they should be noted vertically. [22] Abbreviations and symbols. The obvious advantage of abbreviations and symbols is that they help save time in taking notes, making them more precise and complete. Moreover, the symbol represents an idea, and this will help interpreters think in terms of ideas, not words. Every interpreter creates his/her own list of symbols, which could be rather limited or very long, according to personal criteria. Abbreviations and symbols have to be unequivocal, in the sense that their meaning must be immediately clear when the interpreter reads back his/her notes. They must be logical, that is, they should have an intrinsic connotative function for the interpreter who uses them: they must be symbols, not signs. They should make up an organic system, that is, one symbol can originate others, following the same logic which led the interpreter to choose a determinate symbol.

Frequently occurring notions. Any notion that is likely to occur often in an interpreter's work should have its corresponding abbreviation or symbol. All interpreters should have a list of abbreviations for country names and major international organizations, as well as for the notions which come up frequently in their own particular area of activity. Moreover, there is a whole range of notions for which symbols or abbreviations must be systematically created: words such as policy/political, economy/economic, monetary, industry/industrial, agriculture, territory, country, nation, state, international, financial, social, situation, condition, import/export - the list could be endless - must have their corresponding symbols or abbreviations. The Greek alphabet, mathematical and geometric symbols, international car registration codes, the Cyrillic alphabet, acronyms, suprasegmental signs, arrows and invented signs normally provide useful data bases for interpreters to start creating their lists of symbols and abbreviations. As to notions that occur frequently only in the context of a given meeting, special, temporary symbols can be devised especially for that particular meeting.

Links and points of view. Links are to be noted systematically and accurately. Many professional interpreters use English link words since some of them are very short: as, so, but, for instance, can be very useful. Similarly, points of view should be easy to note by using short English verbs as say and think or corresponding abbreviations.

Verb Tenses and Modal Verbs. The tenses that are most important to note are the present, the past, the future and the conditional. Experience teaches us that the most effective way to note them is to put a graphic sign near the verb form. So, an L sign will indicate the future, a reversed L sign () will show the past, a circumflexed stress will show the conditional, whereas no extra sign will be used for the present tense. As for modal verbs, it is advisable to note them in English, since they are rather short: may, must, can, want, etc. Finally, we must stress another point: in their notes, interpreters do not use a particular language. They use a system of symbols, abbreviations, numbers, signs, and words in one or more languages, thereby creating a cryptic and highly personalized language.

The seven principles. The use of a technique is always dependent upon the application of a certain number of principles. This is what we call the instructions. One need not follow the rules recommended in such instructions. Indeed the product, device or system for which they were devised may well work even if they are not observed, but will do so less efficiently. Furthermore, the simpler the instructions, the more likely the user is to follow them. The same applies to note-taking. A few very simple principles give this system its sound base and precision, and make using it straightforward. There are seven of these principles; in order they are:

a) Noting the idea and not the word

b) The rules of abbreviation

c) Links

d) Negation

e) Adding emphasis

f) Verticality

g) Shift

a) Noting the idea and not the word: Take any Russian text and give it to 10 excellent English translators. The result will be ten very well translated texts, but ten very different texts in as far as the actual words used are concerned. The fact that we have ten good translations, but ten different texts, shows that what is important is the translation of the idea and not the word. This is even truer of interpretation since the interpreter must produce a version of the text in another language immediately. He must be free of the often misleading constraints that words represent. It is through the analysis and notation of the ideas that the interpreter will avoid mistakes and a labored delivery. Let us take the following, from Russian into English:

, / There is a very good chance that

If we base our notation of this expression on the words, the key word is chance. If we base it on the idea, it is probable. [9, p. 38]

The notes will have to be read 20 minutes - even an hour - after the idea was originally expressed. In the first example it would be very easy to make a mistake. Having noted chance the interpreter might, if the context allowed, render it there is a chance that or by chance. If on the other hand he noted probable the mistake cannot be made. The issue of style is also dealt with in the second example where one would automatically say (interpreting into English), It is probable that, or it is likely that, or in all likelihood whereas in the first example even if the interpreter had correctly recalled the idea that the word chance represented he/she will be a prisoner to that word and might easily produce a gallicism.

Whenever taking notes the interpreter must concentrate on the major idea and how this can be noted clearly and simply (preferably in the target language, although this is not essential).

In the practical exercises in Part 3 of this book you will find a number of examples of noting the idea rather than the word. It is recommended that you examine these with particular care.

b) The rules of abbreviation: The rule of thumb is that unless a word is short (4-5 letters) the interpreter should note it in an abbreviated form.

If we have to note specialized it is more meaningful and reliable to note sped than to write spec.

Stat. could be read as statute or statistics whilst Stute and Stics are unambiguous.

Prod. could be read as production, producer, product or productivity while Pron, Prer, Prct, Prvity are unambiguous.

Com. could be read as Commission or committee while Con and Ctee are unambiguous.

Having abbreviated a word or an idea (be it by the use of a symbol or a contraction of its component letters) it can also be very helpful to give an indication of gender and tense).

Thus in the expression: I will come back to this a little later, noting the future tense will render the words a little later superfluous. We will see below that I speak can be noted: I. Therefore we note: I ll

The expression: those mentioned, must be noted: rf d; because rf alone could be read back as those which mention.

The expression which have contributed to is long. The word help is short. Wherever possible we must abbreviate by using a word which conveys the same meaning but is shorter.

Similarly, which are worth looking at can be noted intg (interesting).

In order to arrive at some conclusions can be noted to end.

Taking into account the situation at the present time can be noted as siton now.

c) Links: The part of any speech that is both the most important and the most difficult to note is the sequence of ideas and the links between them. [7, p. 39]

An idea can be distorted completely if its relation to the previous idea is not clearly indicated. When taking notes then, we should never miss out the links. Indeed what we actually see is that if the links are noted well the rest of the idea can be summarised in just a few strokes of the pen.

Noting links becomes very simple if we use the key words that follow. (Over time this will become automatic.)

as, why and that is because, this is the reason why, since, given the fact that, (in some instances) given that; to convey explanation.

tho although, despite the fact that; to convey opposition

but on the other hand, but, nevertheless, however; to convey limitations

if it is possible that, assuming that; to convey supposition.

as to as far as x is concerned, on the matter of; to convey reference

tfe therefore, one can then conclude; to convey conclusion.

The three symbols below are also extremely useful.

= the same goes for, one might say the same of; to convey the idea of equality or correspondance

on the other hand, contrary to; to convey the idea of difference or lack of correspondance

in + in addition, furthermore, if we also take account of; to convey the idea of additional precision. [7, pp. 46-47]

d) Negation: Negation might be noted by means of a line running through a word or symbol:

If we use OK to signify agree, then disagree will be OK. It is also possible to write the word no before the word to be negated (thus in our example we would note no OK). This second method is clearer and since no is a very short word using it is not a problem.

e) Adding emphasis: To emphasize a word we can underline it (twice if we are dealing with a superlative or absolute):

(The study) is interesting: intg

(The study) is very interesting: intg

(The study) is extremely interesting: intg

In some cases the line may be replaced by a circumflex to avoid confusion arising from the use of verticality.

Alternatively emphasis can be noted with a dotted line.

This report might be useful: useful

The use of underlining to denote nuance allows us to qualify the word (or idea) underlined without noting the qualifier.

important question becomes:?

we should look at this very carefully becomes: look at

I would like to say in the strongest possible terms becomes: I say

an imperfect solution becomes: soltn

e) Vertically: It is the principles of Verticality and Shift (described in the next section) which form the backbone of the note-taking system described in this book.

Verticality means taking notes from top to bottom rather than from left to right. This method makes it possible to:

a) group ideas logically, allowing a complete and immediate synthesis when we come to read back our notes,

b) to do away with many links which would otherwise be essential to the clarity of the text.

1) Stacking: Stacking consists of placing different elements of the text above or below one another.

the report on western europe


W Eur.

the report on western europe is an interesting document

Rort intg

W Eur.

Since the French, US and UK delegations.

Since the French, US and UK delegations have suggested.





As US suggestd


The chapters of the report which deal with economic situation in Europe offer additional information and new statistics

Chrs info

_________ give new

Ec. Eur statics

If the sign > is used to denote offer and the sign + to denote additional and new then our notes will look like this:

Chrs info

_________ > +

Ec. Eur statics

2) Using brackets: Brackets are an important part of the verticality system. In every speech there will be certain elements, which are mentioned to clarify an idea or to highlight a particular point, but which are not integral to the speaker's train of thought.

These parts of a speech should be noted in brackets, below the main element to which they refer.

.which leads to new investment, particularly in the transport sector

> + invts


(We hear that our exports will suffer as a result of increases in factor costs), which will make them less competitive.

(so - compive)

To encourage a natural use of the verticality technique it is recommended that you use relatively large but narrow pieces of paper. This will allow you to note the maximum amount of text on one page whilst automatically bringing your notes back to the left hand side of the page.

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