In consecutive interpretation note taking plays an important role. We can say that note taking is the heart of consecutive interpretation. Note-taking plays an important role in it. A personal system of note-taking is very useful in consecutive interpretation. Each interpreter should develop a personal system of notes. It helps to form the habit of summarizing and symbolizing words and phrases, which is an important aspect of the interpretation process. Through note-taking the interpreter stays focused, facilitates the reception and analysis the speech. For example: OK — to approve, support; OK — disapprove; Wk — week; Wednesday — Wed; B4 — Before; btw — between? (A question mark) — Doubt, problem; = — equals; percentage — %; More than — >; Less than — <; decrease; etc.
Consecutive interpretation relies on long-term memory. Psychological studies have shown that long-term memory fades very rapidly . A successful note-taking technique for consecutive interpretation calls for a method of reducing words to ideas and putting the ideas into symbols that can then be re-expressed in another language. An interpreter should not try to write down word for word everything the speaker says because a hundred words may contain only one idea, while one word may imply several ideas.
Each interpreter should have his own system of note- taking. Every interpreter’s note is unique and individual. Note — taking helps the interpreter to fix on the paper a sufficient number of semantic elements of the speech of the source speaker. The competent use of note-taking gives the translator an additional opportunity to think over the semantic structure of the source text at a stage of perception of the original, to fix precise information such as figures, names, to take some translation decisions, to prepare for the construction of the translation text and etc .
Any system for note taking needs to meet a number of criteria. First, the record will have to be done quickly, at the rate of the speaker's speech, which means that it should be short, exact and clear. Secondly, the interpreter should quickly read and understand his notes. Thirdly, in the recording it is necessary to record key moments of the speaker's speech. It should be taken into consideration that translation shouldn’t differ significantly from the speech of the speaker.
Good listening skills lead to good note-taking. In note — taking attention — focus on meaning — comprehension — analysis and evaluation — responding — remembering play crucial role.
Concerning the language in note-taking we can say that it completely depends on the choice of interpreter. The interpreter can take notes in source language, in target language, or he can use the combination of both languages.
While doing note-taking it is important to leave a space between entries so that the missed information can be filled easily.
There are different methods of note- taking such as Cornell Method, Outlining Method, The Mapping Method, Charting Method, and Sentence Method.
The Cornell method provides a systematic format for condensing and organizing notes without laborious recopying. After writing the notes in the main space, the left-hand space is used to label each idea and detail with a key word or «cue».
Outlining Method can be most effective when note taking skills are super sharp and interpreter can handle the outlining regardless of the note taking situation.
Mapping is a method that uses comprehension/concentration skills and evolves in a note taking form which relates each fact or idea to every other fact or idea. Mapping is a graphic representation of the content of a speech.
Charting method helps the interpreter track conversation where he would normally be confused and lose out on relevant content. It reduces amount of writing. Provides easy review mechanism for memorization.
Sentence method is used when the speech is somewhat organized, but heavy with content which comes fast. When the interpreter can hear the different points, but doesn’t know how they fit together .
Taking notes is essential, because just memory will be insufficient in case of long speech. It gives an interpreter an opportunity to feel confident and calm in any situation. It increases the adequacy of the translation and the quality of its verbal design; gives an opportunity to transfer the precision information practically without loss; reduces the burden on memory.
Efficient note-taking system should be developed in order to reveal precise interpretation by remembering and revealing relevant names, dates, places, and figures. It is often essential to develop this skill under the direction of an experienced interpreter.
Summing up, we came to the conclusion that the ability to use note-taking definitely improves the quality of translation. Effective note-taking is an important transferable skill, a skill that can be applied in all aspects of life, socially, at work and during study. Note-taking is a powerful aid to communication, a way of summarizing and retaining the key points from what you’ve heard and understood.
- Gillies A. Note-taking for Consecutive Interpreting. NY, 2014.
- Deborah A. Garretson, “A Psychological Approach to Consecutive Interpretation”, Meta 26 (3), September 1981
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