This unit is designed to introduce students to the principles and techniques of liaison interpreting, with a view to equipping them to work professionally in this particular field. The aim is to maximise each student's potential so that as many as possible of the group achieve the appropriate standard.
After completing the unit, students should have assimilated the basic principles and techniques of this area of professional work. They will understand how to approach the tasks involved and be able to work on their own initiative to improve the skills that are required. They will have developed a strategy for dealing with different contexts and scenarios and acquired an awareness of the interpreter's relationship with the clients or users. Students will understand and be equipped to deal with the various practical issues and expectations that this entails. In practice, they will be able to function successfully as liaison interpreters in a range of non-specialised environments.
Liaison interpreting is an exercise in direct communication between individuals that involves transferable key skills such as listening, analysing arguments, oral expression and an awareness of one's own performance. The main intellectual skill developed in this unit is the ability to switch rapidly between language directions while acting as intermediary in a dialogue, applying linguistic knowledge so as to deliver a satisfactory performance for the clients or users. All these skills are developed progressively through classwork and constructive feedback.
The programme begins with a number of sessions designed to improve listening, memorisation and analytical skills, as well as note-taking. The focus of the subsequent teaching methodology is to enable students to evolve their own practical liaison interpreting techniques, thereby enhancing students' confidence and improving their ability to handle real work situations. Situations of this kind are simulated by means of role-play scenarios: typically, a scenario will be selected in advance - thus allowing students to prepare the subject matter - and students take turns in the role of an interpreter "hired" to provide interpretation from and into English, the other participants being two tutors who are native speakers of the languages involved. Frequent use is made of the TV studio for these classes, with the role-plays being videotaped for subsequent analysis by the students and their instructors. As well as linguistic questions, this analysis covers cultural and ethical issues, including the concept of advocacy.