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Programme & Unit Catalogues

PL50807: Chinese/English liaison and public service interpreting

[Page last updated: 05 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Credits: 12 [equivalent to 24 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 240
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Academic Year
Assessment Summary: EX 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Examination (EX 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: This unit is designed to introduce students to the principles and techniques of liaison and public service interpreting, with a view to equipping them to work professionally in these fields. The aim is to maximise each student's potential so that as many as possible of the group achieve the appropriate standard.

Learning Outcomes: After completing the unit, students will 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 also have gained a comprehensive understanding of the role of liaison and public service interpreters. They will thus be able to deal with various practical and complex issues effectively and creatively to adapt themselves to a professional environment.

Skills: Liaison and public service interpreting are both exercises in direct communication between individuals that involve 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.
After completing the unit, students will have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring: the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility, decision-making in complex situations and independent learning ability.

Content: 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 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.
Frequent use is made of the TV studio for these classes, with the role-plays being videoed for subsequent analysis by the students. As well as linguistic questions, this analysis covers cultural and ethical issues, including the concept of advocacy.

Programme availability:

PL50807 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
  • THPL-AFM31 : MA Interpreting and Translating (Path 2 - Chinese)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
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