Aims: This unit is designed to equip students with the full range of skills and techniques in consecutive interpreting that are required to embark on a career as a professional linguist in this particular field. The aim is to maximise each student's potential so that as many as possible of the group achieve the standard necessary for professional work.
After completing the unit, students should have assimilated all the principles and techniques of this area of professional work. They will therefore have developed an expertise that enables them to tackle a wide range of consecutive interpreting assignments with confidence and success, including those of a more specialised nature. Students will also have gained a comprehensive understanding of the role of consecutive interpreters and their relationship with particular clients or users. They will thus know how to meet the expectations of the latter and be able to deal effectively with all the various practical issues that these entail. In practice, students will be able to produce competent interpretations of speeches lasting several minutes.
Consecutive interpreting is an exercise in direct communication between individuals that involves transferable key skills such as listening, memory, analysing arguments, oral expression and an awareness of one's own performance. The main intellectual skill developed in this unit is the ability to cope with the highly challenging task of conveying the full substance of an extended speech in one language immediately after it has been delivered in another, applying sophisticated linguistic knowledge to provide a satisfactory service for the audience. All these skills are developed progressively through classwork and constructive feedback.
The programme begins with a series of practical sessions designed to improve listening, memorisation and analytical skills. This also includes an introduction to note-taking. Thereafter, the materials used are graduated in length and difficulty. Students will also be provided with a programme of practice materials to work on in their own time. In Semester 2, increasing use is made of live speakers delivering semi-improvised materials (i.e. an outline of the speech is prepared in advance, but the main substance is provided in an ad hoc manner by the speaker, thereby replicating the idiosyncrasies and patterns of delivery frequently experienced in real life). The focus of the teaching methodology is to enable students to evolve their own practical consecutive interpreting techniques, thereby enhancing their ability to handle real work situations.